Abstract

The Appalachian orogen has long been enigmatic because, compared to other parts of the Paleozoic orogens that formed following the subduction of the Iapetus Ocean, direct evidence for ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphism has never been found. We report the first discovery of coesite in the Appalachian orogen in a metapelite from the mid-Ordovician (Taconic orogeny) Tillotson Peak Complex in Vermont (USA). Relict coesite occurs within a bimineralic SiO2 inclusion in garnet. In situ elastic barometry and trace-element thermometry allow reconstruction of the garnet growth history during prograde metamorphism. The data are interpreted to indicate garnet nucleation and crystallization during blueschist- to eclogite-facies subduction zone metamorphism, followed by garnet rim growth at UHP conditions of > 28 kbar and > 530 ° C. Results provide the first direct evidence that rocks of the Appalachian orogen underwent UHP metamorphism to depths of > 75 km and warrant future studies that constrain the extent of UHP metamorphism.

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