Emplacement of compositionally distinctive granitic plutons accompanied two pulses (765-680 and 620-550Ma) of crustal extension that affected the Rodinian craton at the present location of the central Appalachians during the Neoproterozoic. The dominantly metaluminous plutons display mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of A-type granites including high FeO t/MgO ratios, high abundances of Nb, Zr, Y, Ta, and REE (except Eu), and low concentrations of Sc, Ba, Sr, and Eu. These dike-like, sheet complexes occur throughout the Blue Ridge province of Virginia and North Carolina, and were emplaced at shallow levels in continental crust during active extension, forming locally multiple-intrusive plutons elongated perpendicular to the axis of extension. New U-Pb zircon ages obtained from the Polly Wright Cove (706??4Ma) and Suck Mountain (680??4Ma) plutons indicate that metaluminous magmas continued to be replenished near the end of the first pulse of rifting. The Suck Mountain body is presently the youngest known igneous body associated with earlier rifting. U-Pb zircon ages for the Pound Ridge Granite Gneiss (562??5Ma) and Yonkers Gneiss (563??2Ma) in the Manhattan prong of southeastern New York constitute the first evidence of plutonic felsic activity associated with the later period of rifting in the U.S. Appalachians, and suggest that similar melt-generation processes were operative during both intervals of crustal extension. Fractionation processes involving primary minerals were responsible for much of the compositional variation within individual plutons. Compositions of mapped lithologic units in a subset of plutons studied in detail define overlapping data arrays, indicating that, throughout the province, similar petrologic processes operated locally on magmas that became successively more chemically evolved. Limited variation in source-sensitive Y/Nb and Yb/Ta ratios is consistent with results of melting experiments and indicates that metaluminous granitoids of the supersuite likely were derived through melting of lower crustal sources. Mildly peralkaline rocks of the Robertson River batholith and Irish Creek pluton may be derived from more chemically primitive sources similar in composition to ocean-island basalts. Blue Ridge granitoids define a plutonic episode that occurred during an unsuccessful pulse of crustal extension which predated opening of Iapetus by more than 100 million years. Granitoid gneisses in New York were emplaced during an extension-related, dominantly mafic magmatic episode that ultimately led to development of Iapetus. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Neoproterozoic A-type granitoids of the central and southern Appalachians: Intraplate magmatism associated with episodic rifting of the Rodinian supercontinent