Available geochronologic ages of volcanic and intrusive rocks of the Taconian arc complex of western New England suggest that the Shelburne Falls and Bronson Hill arcs are not temporally or spatially discrete. Arc activity ranges from earliest Ordovician to Silurian. Activity in the Early and Middle Ordovician coincided with outboard accretionary tectonics and metamorphism that was contemporaneous with the older igneous activity in the Shelburne Falls arc and Bronson Hill arcs. Activity at about 455 to 445 Ma coincides with the collisional stage of the Taconian orogeny that affected Caradocian and older rocks of the Laurentian margin. The 455 to 445 Ma range for the collisional stage of Taconian orogeny in western New England is bracketed by biostratigraphic ages of sedimentary rocks formed on the Laurentian margin and 40Ar/39Ar ages of prograde hornblende formed during Taconian metamorphism. The previous 40Ar/39Ar age estimate of 465 Ma for this collisional and metamorphic event is now known to be too old because this age violates the age of metasedimentary rocks involved in the collisional tectonics. Acceptance of the newer 40Ar/39Ar age estimates of 445 to 450 Ma for Taconian metamorphism during collision establishes the contemporaneity with arc activity in the Bronson Hill arc. Taken together these data support the concept of a long-lived volcanic arc terrane(s) that prograded oceanward. Collision with this time-composite arc terrane(s) in the Caradocian produced the Taconian orogeny rather than the collision of a separate and smaller arc called the "Shelburne Falls arc" by Karabinos and others (1998).
Additional publication details
Interpretation of ages of arc magmatism, metamorphism, and collisional tectonics in the taconian orogen of western New England