The Macon Complex; An ancient accretionary complex in the southern Appalachians

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The Macon Complex, which extends from eastern Alabama to northern North Carolina, is a late Precambrian–Middle Cambrian accretionary complex comparable in size to the Franciscan Complex of California and Oregon. Much of the complex is tectonic, sedimentary, and metamorphic chaos, properly termed mélange, where well-rounded to angular fragments, blocks, and slabs of contrasting metamorphic grades, different igneous parentages, drastically different sedimentary facies, and different degrees of deformation “float” in highly imbricated and tectonized matrices, the whole having been intruded by Devonian mafic plutons and associated syenites, and by Carboniferous granitic plutons. We have divided the complex into three mélanges that probably reflect different structural regimes within the accretionary wedge: (1) the Juliette mélange, with two tectonostratigraphic lithofacies, the clastic-rich, partly olistostromal Potato Creek facies and the Gladesville facies, rich in mafic and ultramaflc fragments, blocks, and slabs; (2) the Po Biddy mélange, characterized by metamorphosed manganiferous sediments, metavolcaniclastic rocks, graphitic schists, and locally by metamorphosed thinly bedded pyritiferous limestones, and a wide variety of mineral deposits; and (3) the Falls Lake mélange, which is quite similar to the Juliette mélange and probably represents the same tectonostratigraphic horizon in the accretionary prism. The matrices of the mélanges contain a wide variety of metaigneous and metasedimentary exotic clasts, including mafic and ultramaflc rocks. The Macon Complex is structurally overlain by the late Precambrian–Middle Cambrian Little River Complex, made up of thick piles of mostly felsic calc-alkaline metavolcanic rocks, and lesser amounts of metaplutonic rocks, that originated in a continental-margin volcanic arc (Little River arc). Trilobites from near the top of one of the youngest sections are restricted to the upper two-thirds of the Middle Cambrian and are characteristic of the Atlantic faunal province. The Little River Complex is overlain, beneath the Atlantic Coastal Plain, by the African cratonic Northern Florida platform sequence; the Macon and Little River complexes and the Northern Florida platform sequence make up the Little River thrust stack. The magmas of the Devonian plutons that have intruded the Macon Complex probably formed when the Little River stack was thrust upon the underlying Georgiabama thrust stack, which was itself still being thrust toward the North American craton. The Macon Complex is interpreted to have formed between a trench and the Little River island arc at the oceanward edge of what was either a microcontinent off the African continent or the core of the present African continent. Many mafic and all ultramaflc bodies in the mélange are probably pieces of Iapetus Ocean crust and mantle offscraped from the downgoing slab and imbricated into the accretionary wedge. Rocks of the Macon Complex have previously been assigned to the “Charlotte,” “Kiokee,” “Kings Mountain,” and “Lowndesville” belts and to parts of the “Uchee,” “Raleigh,” “Pine Mountain,” and “Inner Piedmont” “belts.”

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Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title The Macon Complex; An ancient accretionary complex in the southern Appalachians
DOI 10.1130/SPE228-p229
Year Published 1989
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of America
Description 18 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Mélanges Olistostromes of the U.S. Appalachians
First page 229
Last page 246
Country United States
State Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
Other Geospatial Macon Complex
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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