Abstract

Approximately 200 K-Ar mineral and whole rock ages from New England, half of which are previously unpublished, are used to delineate an area of Permian thermal disturbance. The disturbed area, as outlined by K-Ar mica ages, forms a north-northeast-trending belt 60–80 mi wide that extends from the coast of Long Island Sound in southern Connecticut to southwestern Maine, where it terminates against rocks displaying older radiometric ages. Several possible mechanisms that may have affected the radio-metric systems of pre-existing rocks are examined: (1) contact metamorphism related to contemporaneous igneous activity, (2) alteration associated with major faulting, (3) regional metamorphism in late Paleozoic time, and (4) burial followed by uplift and erosion. Evidence is given that each of these mechanisms was operative locally, especially in the southern portion of the belt. The general lack of late Paleozoic tectonism in New Hampshire and Maine suggests that only burial is a likely cause of the disturbance there.

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