Silurian extension in the Upper Connecticut Valley, United States and the origin of middle Paleozoic basins in the Québec embayment

American Journal of Science
By: , and 



Pre-Silurian strata of the Bronson Hill arch (BHA) in the Upper Connecticut Valley, NH-VT are host to the latest Ludlow Comerford Intrusive Suite consisting, east to west, of a mafic dike swarm with sheeted dikes, and an intrusive complex. The rocks are mostly mafic but with compositions ranging from gabbro to leucocratic tonalite. The suite is truncated on the west by the Monroe fault, a late Acadian thrust that carries rocks of the BHA westward over Silurian-Devonian strata of the Connecticut Valley-Gaspe?? trough (CVGT). Dikes intrude folded strata with a pre-intrusion metamorphic fabric (Taconian?) but they experienced Acadian deformation. Twenty fractions of zircon and baddeleyite from three sample sites of gabbrodiorite spanning nearly 40 km yield a weighted 207Pb/206Pb age of 419 ?? 1 Ma. Greenschist-facies dikes, sampled over a strike distance of 35 km, were tholeiitic basalts formed by partial melting of asthenospheric mantle, with little or no influence from mantle or crustal lithosphere. The dike chemistry is similar to mid-ocean ridge, within-plate, and back-arc basin basalts. Parent magmas originated in the asthenosphere and were erupted through severely thinned lithosphere adjacent to the CVGT. Extensive middle Paleozoic basins in the internides of the Appalachian orogen are restricted to the Que??bec embayment of the Laurentian rifted margin, and include the CVGT and the Central Maine trough (CMT), separated from the BHA by a Silurian tectonic hinge. The NE-trending Comerford intrusions parallel the CVGT, CMT, and the tectonic hinge, and indicate NW-SE extension. During post-Taconian convergence, the irregular margins of composite Laurentia and Avalon permitted continued collision in Newfoundland (St. Lawrence promontory) and coeval extension in the Que??bec embayment. Extension may be related to hinge retreat of the northwest directed Brunswick subduction complex and rise of the asthenosphere following slab break-off. An alternative hypothesis is that the basins originated as pull-apart basins between northwest-trending, left-stepping, sinistral strike-slip faults along the southern flanks of the New York and St. Lawrence promontories.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Silurian extension in the Upper Connecticut Valley, United States and the origin of middle Paleozoic basins in the Québec embayment
Series title American Journal of Science
DOI 10.2475/01.2007.07
Volume 307
Issue 1
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher American Journal of Science
Description 49 p.
First page 216
Last page 264
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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