Time Markers for the Evolution and Exhumation History of a Late Palaeozoic Paired Metamorphic Belt in North-Central Chile (34°-35°30'S).

Willner, A. P., Thomson, S. N., Kröner, A., Wartho, J.-A. , Wijbrans, J. and Hervé, F. (2005) Time Markers for the Evolution and Exhumation History of a Late Palaeozoic Paired Metamorphic Belt in North-Central Chile (34°-35°30'S). Journal of Petrology, 46 (9). pp. 1835-1858. DOI 10.1093/petrology/egi036.

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A multi-method geochronological approach is applied to unravel the dynamics of a paired metamorphic belt in the Coastal Cordillera of central Chile. This is represented by high-pressure–low-temperature rocks of an accretionary prism (Western Series), and a low-pressure–high-temperature overprint in the retro-wedge with less deformed metagreywackes (Eastern Series) intruded by magmas of the coeval arc. A pervasive transposition foliation formed in metagreywackes and interlayered oceanic crust of the Western Series during basal accretion near metamorphic peak conditions (∼350–400°C, 7–11 kbar) at 292–319 Ma (40Ar/39Ar phengite plateau ages). 40Ar/39Ar UV laser ablation ages of phengite record strain-free grain growth and recrystallization with a duration of 31–41 Myr during a pressure release of 3–4 kbar. During early accretion the main intrusion in the arc occurred at 305 Ma (Pb–Pb evaporation; zircon) and the Eastern Series was overprinted by a short high-temperature metamorphism at 3 kbar, 296–301 Ma (40Ar/39Ar muscovite plateau ages). Fission-track ages of zircon (206–232 Ma) and of apatite (80–113 Ma) are similar in both series, indicating synchronous cooling during distinct periods of exhumation. Early exhumation (period I) during continuing basal accretion proceeded with mean rates of ≥0·19–0·56 mm/yr, suggesting that erosion in a tectonically active area was an important unroofing mechanism. At the same time mean rates were 0·03–0·05 mm/yr in the Eastern Series, where crustal thickening was minor. A shallow granite intruded into the Western Series at 224 Ma, at the end of basal accretion activity, when exhumation rates decreased to 0·04–0·06 mm/yr in both series during period II (∼100–225 Ma). Major extension, basin formation and local bimodal dyke intrusion at 138 Ma were accompanied by mean cooling rates of ∼1–2°C/Myr. Accelerated cooling of 3–5°C/Myr at ∼80–113 Ma suggests a mid-Cretaceous convergence event (period III). After 80 Ma cooling rates decreased to 1–2°C/Myr (period IV). The pressure–temperature–deformation–time information for subduction, basal accretion and exhumation in the accretionary wedge of central Chile illustrates that these processes reflect a continuous cyclic mass flow that lasted nearly 100 Myr, while the retro-wedge remained stable. After the cessation of accretion activity a similarly long period of retreat of the subducting slab occurred; this ended with renewed convergence and shortening of the continental margin.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: exhumation rates; Ar/Ar geochronology; fission-track geochronology; Chile; paired metamorphic belt
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1093/petrology/egi036
ISSN: 0022-3530
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2015 11:52
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2015 11:52
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/30257

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