The poorly known, suspect, Uchee terrane occupies a critical tectonic position with regard to how and when peri-Gondwanan (Carolina) and Gondwanan (Suwannee) terranes were sutured to Laurentia. It lies sandwiched between Laurentian(?) continental basement exposed in the Pine Mountain window and adjacent buried Gondwanan crust of the Suwannee terrane. The Uchee terrane has been proposed as both a septum of Piedmont rocks that once was continuous across the erosionally breached Pine Mountain window or part of the Carolina zone. To help resolve this issue, we conducted U-Pb (SHRIMP-RG) (sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe-reverse geometry) zircon studies and whole-rock isotopic analyses of principal metasedimentary and metaplutonic units. U-Pb ages for zircons from the Phenix City Gneiss suggest igneous crystallization at ca. 620 Ma, inheritance ca. 1000 to ca. 1700 Ma, and a ca. 300 Ma (Alleghanian) overprint recorded by zircon rims. Zircons from the metasedimentary/metavolcaniclastic Moffits Mill Schist yield bimodal dates at ca. 620 and 640 Ma. The 620 to 640 Ma dates make these rocks age-equivalent to the oldest parts of the Carolina slate belt (Virgilina and Savannah River) and strongly suggest a Gondwanan (Pan-African and/or Trans-Brasiliano) origin for the Uchee terrane. Alternatively, the Uchee terrane may be correlative with metamorphic basement of the Suwannee terrane. The ca. 300 Ma overgrowths on zircons are compatible with previously reported 295 to 288 Ma 40Ar/39Ar hornblende dates on Uchee terrane rocks, which were interpreted to indicate deep tectonic burial of the Uchee terrane contemporaneous with the Alleghanian orogeny recorded in the foreland. Temperature-time paths for the Uchee terrane are similar to that of the Pine Mountain terrane, indicating a minimum age of ca. 295 Ma for docking. In terms of tectono-metamorphic history of the Uchee terrane, it is important to note that no evidence for intermediate "Appalachian" dates (e.g, Acadian or Taconian) has been reported. This younger history, together with the ages of metaigneous rocks and evidence for pre-Grenville basement, suggests the Uchee terrane is likely of Gondwanan origin and may he related to Carolina zone terranes that accreted during the Alleghanian orogeny. ?? 2008 Geological Society of America.
Additional publication details
Gondwanan/peri-Gondwanan origin for the Uchee terrane, Alabama and georgia: Carolina zone or Suwannee terrane(?) and its suture with Grenvillian basement of the Pine Mountain window