Abstract

Extensive partial melting of the middle to lower crustal parts of orogens, such as of the current Himalaya-Tibet orogen, significantly alters their rheology and imposes first-order control on their tectonic and topographic evolution. We interpret the late Proterozoic Araçuaí orogen, formed by the collision between the São Francisco (Brazil) and Congo (Africa) cratons, as a deep section through such a hot orogen based on U-Pb sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) zircon ages and Ti-in-zircon and Zr-in-rutile temperatures from the Carlos Chagas anatectic domain. This domain is composed of peraluminous anatexites and leucogranites that typically exhibit interconnected networks of garnet-rich leucosomes or a magmatic foliation. Zirconium-in-rutile temperatures range from 745 to 820 °C, and the average Ti-in-zircon temperature ranges from 712 to 737 °C. The geochronologic and thermometry data suggest that from 597 to 572 Ma this domain was partially molten and remained so for at least 25 m.y., slowly crystallizing between temperatures of ∼815 and >700 °C. Significant crustal thickening must have occurred prior to 600 Ma, with initial continental collision likely before 620 Ma, a time period long enough to heat the crust to temperatures required for widespread partial melting at middle crustal levels and to favor a “channel flow” tectonic behavior.

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