40Ar/39Ar dating of biotite from felsic orthogneiss recovered from the -3890-foot level of the Island Beach State Park (IBSP) well beneath the outer New Jersey Coastal Plain was accomplished using CO2 laser incremental-heating techniques. Over 75% of the Ar released from the incremental-heating experiment form a well-behaved plateau with a calculated age of 243.98 ?? 0.10 Ma. The new 244 Ma biotite age reported here is a cooling age younger than the metamorphic event that crystallized or reheated the biotite. We consider reheating of older biotite to be unlikely because the concordant 40Ar/39Ar spectrum upon repeated incremental laser heating showed a well-developed plateau. Thus, biotites from the IBSP gneiss are interpreted as having crystallized during a single thermal event, followed by cooling to below 300 ??C. The IBSP well falls on a structural and geophysical anomaly trend that is along strike with rocks of the Bronson Hill anticlinorium to the north of the IBSP gneiss. Locally graphitic metasedimentary schists and gneisses recovered from New Jersey wells inboard of the IBSP well gneiss correlate to similar lithologies of the Connecticut Valley synclinorium west of the Hartford basin. Our reinterpretation of the IBSP gneiss as metamorphosed dacite or dacitic tuff is consistent with a correlation to some rocks of the Bronson Hill magmatic arc east of the Hartford basin. If correct, this would imply a Late Ordovician age for the protolith of the IBSP gneiss. Reported 40Ar/39Ar biotite ages of 235-253 Ma from southwestern Rhode Island, and of 238-247 Ma from southeastern Connecticut, are interpreted as cooling ages following a tectonothermal event associated with the Alleghanian orogeny (Early Carboniferous to Late Permian). Cooling ages of Alleghanian age (Early Carboniferous to Late Permian) are not recognized west of the Bronson Hill volcanic arc in either central Connecticut or in Massachusetts. Therefore, the 244 Ma cooling age presented here, and the geochemical affinity of the IBSP gneiss to some orthogneisses of the Bronson Hill arc, support an interpretation of the IBSP well as representing the southern continuation of the Bronson Hill arc into New Jersey. Moreover, it documents the presence of rocks beneath the outer New Jersey Coastal Plain that experienced a Permian Alleghanian metamorphism. ?? 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Evidence for an Alleghanian (Early Carboniferous to Late Permian) tectonothermal event in the New Jersey Coastal Plain basement from 40Ar/39Ar biotite data, geochemistry and gravity modeling