Abstract

Uranium-lead dating of zircons from the Montpelier Anorthosite confirms previous interpretations, based on equivocal evidence, that the Goochland terrane in the eastern Piedmont of Virginia contains Grenvillian basement rocks of Middle Proterozoic age. A very few prismatic, elongate, euhedral zircons, which contain 12–29 ppm uranium, are interpreted to be igneous in origin. The vast majority of zircons are more equant, subangular to anhedral, contain 38–52 ppm uranium, and are interpreted to be metamorphic in origin. One fraction of elongate zircon, and four fragments of a very large zircon (occurring in a nelsonite segregation) yield an upper intercept age of 1045 ± 10 Ma, interpreted as the time of anorthosite crystallization. Irregularly shaped metamorphic zircons are dated at 1011 ± 2 Ma (weighted average of the 207Pb/206Pb ages). The U-Pb isotopic systematics of metamorphic titanite were reset during the Alleghanian orogeny at 297 ± 5 Ma. These data provide a minimum age for gneisses of the Goochland terrane that are intruded by the anorthosite. Middle Proterozoic basement rocks of the Goochland terrane may be correlative with those in the Shenandoah massif of the Blue Ridge tectonic province, as suggested by similarities between the Montpelier Anorthosite and the Roseland anorthosite. Although the areal extent of Middle Proterozoic basement and basement-cover relations in the eastern Piedmont remain unresolved, results of this investigation indicate that the Goochland terrane is an internal massif of Laurentian crust rather than an exotic accreted terrane.

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