One-dimensional thermal modelling of Acadian metamorphism in southern Vermont, USA

Journal of Metamorphic Geology

DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1314.2000.00284.x



One-dimensional thermal (1DT) modelling of an Acadian (Devonian) tectonothermal regime in southern Vermont, USA, used measured metamorphic pressures and temperatures and estimated metamorphic cooling ages based on published thermobarometric and geochronological studies to constrain thermal and tectonic input parameters. The area modelled lies within the Vermont Sequence of the Acadian orogen and includes: (i) a western domain containing garnet-grade pre-Silurian metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks from the eastern flank of an Acadian composite dome structure (Rayponda-Sadawga Dome); and (ii) an eastern domain containing similar, but staurolite- or kyanite-grade, rocks from the western flank of a second dome structure (Athens Dome), approximately 10 km farther east. Using reasonable input parameters based on regional geological, petrological and geochronological constraints, the thermal modelling produced plausible P-T paths, and temperature-time (T-t) and pressure-time (P-t) curves. Information extracted from P-T-t modelling includes values of maximum temperature and pressure on the P-T paths, pressure at maximum temperature, predicted Ar closure ages for hornblende, muscovite and K-feldspar, and integrated exhumation and cooling rates for segments of the cooling history. The results from thermal modelling are consistent with independently obtained pressure, temperature and Ar cooling age data on regional metamorphism in southern Vermont. Modelling results provide some important bounding limits on the physical conditions during regional metamorphism, and indicate that the pressure contemporaneous with the attainment of peak temperature was probably as much as 2.5 kbar lower than the actual maximum pressure experienced by rocks along various particle paths. In addition, differences in peak metamorphic grade (garnet-grade versus staurolite-grade or kyanite-grade) and peak temperature for rocks initially loaded to similar crustal depths, differences in calculated exhumation rates, and differences in 40Ar/39Ar closure ages are likely to have been consequences of variations in the duration of isobaric heating (or 'crustal residence periods') and tectonic unroofing rates. Modelling results are consistent with a regional structural model that suggests west to east younging of specific Acadian deformational events, and therefore diachroneity of attainment of peak metamorphic conditions and subsequent 40Ar/39Ar closure during cooling. Modelling is consistent with the proposition that regional variations in timing and peak conditions of metamorphism are the result of the variable depths to which rocks were loaded by an eastward-thickening thrust-nappe pile rooted to the east (New Hampshire Sequence), as well as by diachronous structural processes within the lower plate rocks of the Vermont Sequence.

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One-dimensional thermal modelling of Acadian metamorphism in southern Vermont, USA
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Journal of Metamorphic Geology
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