Abstract

Pre-Silurian continental-margin deposits in western Norway, non-conformably overlying allochthonous continental orthogneisses retain Ordovician 40Ar/39Ar cooling ages for phengites, implying either rapid cooling immediately after a Late Ordovician orogenic event, or less likely, a slow cooling following an Early Ordovician or older orogeny. The Dalsfjord Suite–Høyvik Group basement–cover pair are probably a lateral equivalent to Late Proterozoic sandstones (‘sparagmites’) covering the Jotun Nappe gneisses of the Middle Allochthon in central-south Norway. The Høyvik Group underwent polyphase deformation, greenschist-facies metamorphism (Tmax<450°C) and exhumation prior to deposition of the unconformably overlying Wenlockian continental-margin deposits of the Herland Group. The Høyvik Group was only weakly metamorphosed during obduction of the Solund–Stavfjord Ophiolite and the Scandian continental collision between Baltica and Laurentia. Phengitic white micas from the Høyvik Group yield cooling ages of 446.1± 3.0, 449.1±2.2 and 447.5±4.0 Ma, respectively, identical within experimental error. One sample gives a plateau over 72% of the gas analysed, whereas the other samples were slightly disturbed after initial cooling, as indicated by systematically lower apparent ages at low experimental extraction temperatures. Minor 40Ar loss probably occurred during subsequent Scandian deformation and late to post-orogenic extension.The Høyvik Group rocks were unroofed before the Wenlock time (423–428 Ma) and cooled through the temperature for argon retention in phengite at c. 447±4 Ma, indicating a maximum cooling rate between 14 and 22C/Ma-1 through Ashgill and Llandovery times before being subjected to low-grade metamorphism during the Scandian orogeny. Rapid pre-Scandian cooling, combined with peak metamorphic conditions of 450C or less, may indicate that the Dalsfjord–Høyvik basement–cover pair were aVected by an orogenic event during the Late Ordovician (Caradoc) time. The data also suggest that the Caledonian margin of Baltica may have experienced a more protracted tectonism during the Caledonian cycle than previously models focusing on Early Caledonian and Tremadoc (or older) ophiolite obduction and the Scandian continental collision between Baltica and Laurentia.

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