Abstract

Depending on the quality of the zircon grains available for analysis, two methods may be used to date igneous rock emplacement, namely U-Pb TIMS with isotope dilution or in situ U-Pb SIMS (SHRIMP). Both methods have been used to determine, in a precise and accurate manner, the emplacement age of the granitic protolith of the various orthogneisses in the Pyrenean Axial Zone. More specifically, four representative samples of G1, G2 and a “transition gneiss” yielded reliable datings with an average age of 473 ± 4 Ma for each sample. The surrounding sediments of the Canaveilles Group were constrained by zircon grains from interlayered metarhyodacite and dated at 581 ± 10 Ma using the SHRIMP method, clearly giving this group a late Proterozoic (Vendian) age. Finally, the Somail orthogneiss of the Montagne Noire, equivalent to that of the Canigou, yielded an age of 471 ± 4 Ma with the in situ U-Pb method, which is identical to the dating of the Pyrenean samples. In addition, most of the studied orthogneisses recorded a wide range of significant concordant inherited ages spanning from early Archaean (3.5 Ga) to Pan-African/Cadomian (600–800 Ma). Bearing in mind the calc-alkaline affinity of the studied rocks, this work demonstrates the huge contrast between the active Gondwana margin in the north (“South European terrane”) and the remarkably homogeneous continental plate that existed from Arabia to Morocco during the Ordovician.

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