The Grenville Province on the eastern margin of Laurentia is a remnant of a Mesoproterozoic orogenic plateau that comprised the core of the ancient supercontinent Rodinia. As a protracted Himalayan-style orogen, its orogenic history is vital to understanding Mesoproterozoic tectonics and paleoenvironmental evolution. In this study, we compared two geochemical proxies for crustal thickness: whole-rock [La/Yb]N ratios of intermediate-to-felsic rocks and europium anomalies (Eu/Eu*) in detrital zircons. We compiled whole-rock geochemical data from 124 plutons in the Laurentian Grenville Province and collected trace-element and geochronological data from detrital zircons from the Ottawa and St. Lawrence River (Canada) watersheds. Both proxies showed several episodes of crustal thickening and thinning during Grenvillian orogenesis. The thickest crust developed in the Ottawan phase (~60 km at ca. 1080 Ma and ca. 1045 Ma), when the collision culminated, but it was still up to 20 km thinner than modern Tibet. We speculate that a hot crust and several episodes of crustal thinning prevented the Grenville hinterland from forming a high Tibet-like plateau, possibly due to enhanced asthenosphere-lithosphere interactions in response to a warm mantle beneath a long-lived supercontinent, Nuna-Rodinia.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.