Synchronous peak Barrovian metamorphism driven by syn-orogenic magmatism and fluid flow in southern Connecticut, USA

Penelope J. Lancaster, Ethan Finley Baxter, Jay J. Ague, Christopher M. Breeding, Thomas L. Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent work in Barrovian metamorphic terranes has found that rocks experience peak metamorphic temperatures across several grades at similar times. This result is inconsistent with most geodynamic models of crustal over-thickening and conductive heating, wherein rocks which reach different metamorphic grades generally reach peak temperatures at different times. Instead, the presence of additional sources of heat and/or focusing mechanisms for heat transport, such as magmatic intrusions and/or advection by metamorphic fluids, may have contributed to the contemporaneous development of several different metamorphic zones. Here, we test the hypothesis of temporally focussed heating for the Wepawaug Schist, a Barrovian terrane in Connecticut, USA, using Sm-Nd ages of prograde garnet growth and U-Pb zircon crystallization ages of associated igneous rocks. Peak temperature in the biotite-garnet zone was dated (via Sm-Nd on garnet) at 378.9 ± 1.6 Ma (2σ), whereas peak temperature in the highest grade staurolite-kyanite zone was dated (via Sm-Nd on garnet rims) at 379.9 ± 6.8 Ma (2s). These garnet ages suggest that peak metamorphism was pene-contemporaneous (within error) across these metamorphic grades. Ion microprobe U-Pb ages for zircon from igneous rocks hosted by the metapelites also indicate a period of syn-metamorphic peak igneous activity at 380.6 ± 4.7 Ma (2σ), indistinguishable from the peak ages recorded by garnet. A 388.6 ± 2.1 Ma (2σ) garnet core age from the staurolite-kyanite zone indicates an earlier episode of growth (coincident with ages from texturally early zircon and a previously published monazite age) along the prograde regional metamorphic T-t path. The timing of peak metamorphism and igneous activity, as well as the occurrence of extensive syn-metamorphic quartz vein systems and pegmatites, best supports the hypothesis that advective heating driven by magmas and fluids focussed major mineral growth into two distinct episodes: the first at c. 389 Ma, and the second, corresponding to the regionally synchronous peak metamorphism, at c. 380 Ma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-538
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number5
Early online date24 Apr 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Barrovian metamorphism
  • crustal over-thickening
  • garnet
  • Sm–Nd


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