Armorican provenance for the mélange deposits below the Lizard ophiolite (Cornwall, UK): evidence for Devonian obduction of Cadomian and Lower Palaeozoic crust onto the southern margin of Avalonia

Rob A. Strachan, Ulf Linnemann, Teresa Jeffries, Kerstin Drost, Jens Ulrich

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    Abstract

    Devonian sedimentary rocks of the Meneage Formation within the footwall of the Lizard ophiolite complex in SW England are thought to have been derived from erosion of the over-riding Armorican microplate during collision with Avalonia and the closure of the Rheic Ocean. We further test this hypothesis by comparison of their detrital zircon suites with those of autochthonous Armorican strata. Five samples analysed from SW England (Avalonia) and NW France (Armorica) have a bimodal U–Pb zircon age distribution dominated by late Neoproterozoic to middle Cambrian (c. 710–518 Ma) and Palaeoproterozoic (c. 1,800–2,200 Ma) groupings. Both can be linked with lithologies exposed within the Cadomian belt as well as the West African craton, which is characterized by major tectonothermal events at 2.0–2.4 Ga. The detrital zircon signature of Avalonia is distinct from that of Armorica in that there is a much larger proportion of Mesoproterozoic detritus. The common provenance of the samples is therefore consistent with: (a) derivation of the Meneage Formation mélange deposits from the Armorican plate during Rheic Ocean closure and obduction of the Lizard Complex and (b) previous correlation of quartzite blocks within the Meneage Formation with the Ordovician Grès Armoricain Formation of NW France.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1359-1383
    JournalInternational Journal of Earth Sciences
    Volume103
    Issue number5
    Early online date28 Sep 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

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