New geologic mapping, petrology, and U-Pb geochronology indicate that Mesoproterozoic crust near Mount Rogers consists of felsic to mafic meta-igneous rocks emplaced over 260 m.y. The oldest rocks are compositionally diverse and migmatitic, whereas younger granitoids are porphyritic to porphyroclastic. Cathodoluminescence imaging indicates that zircon from four representative units preserves textural evidence of multiple episodes of growth, including domains of igneous, metamorphic, and inherited origin. Sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) trace-element analyses indicate that metamorphic zircon is characterized by lower Th/U, higher Yb/Gd, and lower overall rare earth element (REE) concentrations than igneous zircon. SHRIMP U-Pb isotopic analyses of zircon define three episodes of magmatism: 1327 ± 7 Ma, 1180–1155 Ma, and 1061 ± 5 Ma. Crustal recycling is recorded by inherited igneous cores of 1.33–1.29 Ga age in 1161 ± 7 Ma meta-monzogranite. Overlapping ages of igneous and metamorphic crystallization indicate that plutons of ca. 1170 and 1060 Ma age were emplaced during episodes of regional heating. Local development of hornblende + plagioclase + quartz ± clinopyroxene indicates that prograde metamorphism at 1170–1145 Ma and 1060–1020 Ma reached upper-amphibolite-facies conditions, with temperatures estimated using Ti-in-zircon geothermometry at ~740 ± 40 °C during both episodes. The chemical composition of 1327 ± 7 Ma orthogranofels from migmatite preserves the first evidence of arc-generated rocks in the Blue Ridge, indicating a subduction-related environment that may have been comparable to similar-age systems in inliers of the Northern Appalachians and the Composite Arc belt of Canada. Granitic magmatism at 1180–1155 Ma and ca. 1060 Ma near Mount Rogers was contemporaneous with anorthosite-mangerite-charnockite-granite (AMCG) plutonism in the Northern Appalachian inliers and Canadian Grenville Province. Metamorphism at ca. 1160 and 1060 Ma correlates temporally with the Shawinigan orogeny and Ottawan phase of the Grenvillian orogeny, respectively, suggesting that the Blue Ridge was part of Rodinia dating back to ca. 1180 Ma.
Additional publication details
Thermomagmatic evolution of Mesoproterozoic crust in the Blue Ridge of SW Virginia and NW North Carolina: Evidence from U-Pb geochronology and zircon geothermometry
Geological Society of America
Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center