Ages and origins of rocks of the Killingworth dome, south-central Connecticut: Implications for the tectonic evolution of southern New England

American Journal of Science
By: , and 



The Killingworth dome of south-central Connecticut occurs at the southern end of the Bronson Hill belt. It is composed of tonalitic and trondhjemitic orthogneisses (Killingworth complex) and bimodal metavolcanic rocks (Middletown complex) that display calc-alkaline affinities. Orthogneisses of the Killingworth complex (Boulder Lake gneiss, 456 ?? 6 Ma; Pond Meadow gneiss, ???460 Ma) were emplaced at about the same time as eruption and deposition of volcanic-sedimentary rocks of the Middletown complex (Middletown Formation, 449 ?? 4 Ma; Higganum gneiss, 459 ?? 4 Ma). Hidden Lake gneiss (339 ?? 3 Ma) occurs as a pluton in the core of the Killingworth dome, and, on the basis of geochemical and isotopic data, is included in the Killingworth complex. Pb and Nd isotopic data suggest that the Pond Meadow, Boulder Lake, and Hidden Lake gneisses (Killingworth complex) resulted from mixing of Neoproterozoic Gander terrane sources (high 207Pb/204Pb and intermediate ??Nd) and less radiogenic (low 207Pb/204Pb and low ??Nd) components, whereas Middletown Formation and Higganum gneiss (Middletown complex) were derived from mixtures of Gander basement and primitive (low 207Pb/204Pb and high ??Nd) sources. The less radiogenic component for the Killingworth complex is similar in isotopic composition to material from Laurentian (Grenville) crust. However, because published paleomagnetic and paleontologic data indicate that the Gander terrane is peri-Gondwanan in origin, the isotopic signature of Killingworth complex rocks probably was derived from Gander basement that contained detritus from non-Laurentian sources such as Amazonia, Baltica, or Oaxaquia. We suggest that the Killingworth complex formed above an east-dipping subduction zone on the west margin of the Gander terrane, whereas the Middletown complex formed to the east in a back-arc rift environment. Subsequent shortening, associated with the assembly of Pangea in the Carboniferous, resulted in Gander cover terranes over the Avalon terrane in the west; and in the Middletown complex over the Killingworth complex in the east. Despite similarities of emplacement age, structural setting, and geographic continuity of the Killingworth dome with Oliverian domes in central and northern New England, new and published isotopic data suggest that the Killingworth and Middletown complexes were derived from Gander crust, and are not part of the Bronson Hill arc that was derived from Laurentian crust. The trace of the Ordovician Iapetan suture (the Red Indian line) between rocks of Laurentian and Ganderian origin probably extends from Southwestern New Hampshire west of the Pelham dome of northcentral Massachusetts and is coverd by Mesozoic rocks of the Hartford basin.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ages and origins of rocks of the Killingworth dome, south-central Connecticut: Implications for the tectonic evolution of southern New England
Series title American Journal of Science
DOI 10.2475/01.2007.04
Volume 307
Issue 1
Year Published 2007
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title American Journal of Science
First page 63
Last page 118
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