We present new evidence for the assignment of the Neoproterozoic Massabesic Gneiss Complex of New Hampshire to the Gander terrane rather than the Avalon terrane. The majority of Avalonian (sensu stricto) igneous and meta-igneous rocks as defined in Maritime Canada have positive whole-rock ɛNd compared to more negative values for Gander rocks, although there is a region of overlap in ɛNd between the two terranes. Our samples from areas in Connecticut previously thought to be Avalonian and samples from the Willimantic dome have the same isotopic signatures as Maritime Canada Avalon. In contrast, samples from the Clinton dome of southern Connecticut plots exclusively in the Gander field. The majority of the orthogneiss samples from Lyme dome (coastal Connecticut), Pelham dome (central Massachusetts) and Massabesic Gneiss Complex also plot in the Gander field, with a few samples plotting in the overlap zone between Gander and Avalon. U-Pb age distributions of detrital zircon populations from quartzites from the Massabesic Gneiss Complex more closely approximate the data from the Lyme Dome rather than Avalon. Additionally, the similarity of the P-T-t path for the rocks of the Massabesic Gneiss Complex (established by thermobarometry and 40Ar/39Ar dating of amphibole, muscovite, biotite and K-feldspar) with that established in the Ganderian Lyme dome of southern Connecticut strengthens the assignment of these rocks to a single Gander block that docked to Laurentia during the Salinic Orogeny.
The identification of Ganderian isotopic signatures for these rocks all of which show evidence for Alleghanian metamorphism, supports the hypothesis that Neoproterozoic Gander lower crustal rocks underlie southern New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and that all rocks of the overlying Central Maine trough that largely escaped high-grade Alleghanian metamorphism are allochthonous. We suggest that during the Alleghanian, the docking of Gondwana caused Avalon to wedge into Gander, metamorphosing and partially melting the Massabesic Gneiss Complex to the observed P-T-t conditions, with the complex forming an uplifted sheet that was back-thrusted over the Avalonian wedge.