New 207Pb/206Pb single zircon evaporation ages for granulites, gneisses and granites in southern and central Madagascar record a widespread Pan-African metamorphic and magmatic event in the period c. 650–556 Ma, but also earlier ages in the range 1890–1710 Ma, inherited from protolith material and reflecting heterogeneous crustal sources. South of the Ranotsara shear zone, metasedimentary gneisses and granulites contain an early population of detrital zircons with ages in the range 1890–1740 Ma; a detrital grain with an age of 899 ± 2 Ma suggests that some sedimentary protoliths were deposited later than c. 900 Ma. Metamorphic zircons have a mean age of 564.2 ± 0.9 Ma.
North of the Ranotsara shear zone, our data provide information on the age of source material of metamorphic rocks: 788.6 ± 0.7 Ma for the time of emplacement of the granitic precursor of a granulite-facies charnockite and 650.9 ± 0.9 Ma for the protolith age of an amphibolite-facies migmatitic gneiss. A structurally conformable alkali granite sheet with a crystallization age of 568.7 ±1.6 Ma contains xenocrystic zircons, one of which has an age of 1229.6 ± 1.0 Ma, inherited from the source of the anatectically derived material. The post-tectonic, alkalic Carion granite has an emplacement age of 556.0 ± 1.7 Ma and provides a minimum age for granulite- and amphibolite-facies metamorphism. Our field data indicate that extensional shear zones are common in central Madagascar, locally controlling amphibolite-facies retrogression of granulite-facies rocks and the emplacement of crustal melt granites. These events record the widespread extensional collapse of the Pan-African orogen in Madagascar.