New U-Pb geochronology constrains the timing of the Acadian orogeny in the Central Maine Terrane of northern New Hampshire. Sixteen fractions of one to six grains each of zircon or monazite have been analyzed from six samples: (1) an early syntectonic diorite that records the onset of the Acadian, (2) a schist, a migmatite, and two granites that together record the peak of the Acadian; and (3) a postkinematic pluton that records the end of the Acadian. Zircon from the syntectonic Wamsutta Diorite gives a 207Pb/206Pb age of circa 408 Ma, the time at which the boundary between the deforming orogenic wedge and the foreland basin was in the vicinity of the Presidential Range. This age agrees well with the Emsian position of the northwest migrating Acadian orogenic front and records the beginning of the Acadian in this part of the Central Maine Terrane. We propose a possible Acadian tectonic model that incorporates the geochronologic, structural, and stratigraphic data. Monazite from the schist, migmatite, Bigelow Lawn Granite, and Slide Peak Granite gives 207Pb/206U ages, suggesting the peak of Acadian metamorphism and intrusion of two-mica granites occurred at circa 402-405 Ma, the main pulse of Acadian orogenesis. Previously reported monazite ages from schists that likely record the peak metamorphism in the Central Maine Terrane of New Hampshire and western Maine range from circa 406-384 Ma, with younger ages in southeastern New Hampshire and progressively older ages to the west, north, and northeast. Acadian orogenesis in the Presidential Range had ended by circa 355 Ma, the 207Pb/235U age of monazite from the Peabody River Granite. From 408 to perhaps at least 394 Ma, Acadian orogenesis in the Presidential Range was typical of the tectonic style, dominated by synkinematic metamorphism, seen in central and southern New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. From no earlier than 394 Ma to as late as 355 Ma, the orogenesis was typical of the style in parts of Maine dominated by postkinematic metamorphism.
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Timing of the Acadian Orogeny in northern New Hampshire