Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geology)

First Advisor

Dr. David P. Moecher

Abstract

Identifying the crustal affinity of Grenville basement rocks in the Dellwood quadrangle, western NC, provides insight into the tectonic evolution of eastern Laurentia during Grenville orogenesis. U-Pb zircon geochronology of orthogneiss, augen gneiss, and mafic xenoliths in orthogneiss reveal magmatic pulses at 1130, 1180, and 1330 Ma and metamorphic episodes at 450 and 1040 Ma. Xenoliths in 1330 Ma orthogneiss are as old as 1382 Ma and represent the oldest component of Blue Ridge basement identified to-date. Feldspar Pb isotope values span a range between juvenile-Laurentian and southern-central Appalachian basement/Amazonia. Most Pb isotope data define an array consistent with crustal mixing between Laurentia and Amazonia, however, one xenolith has a unique Pb isotopic composition interpreted as Laurentian crust. Sm-Nd isotope data yield depleted mantle model ages ranging from 1.52 to 1.79 Ga (200 to 650 Ma older than their crystallization ages) indicating a broadly non-juvenile heritage for Dellwood basement. Three biotite gneiss samples contain detrital zircon grains derived from 1060, 1160, 1330, and 1750 Ma sources. Multiple magmatic zircon age populations, variable depleted mantle modelages, and regionally unique isotopic Pb signatures are evidence of protracted Grenville magmatism in the southern Appalachians involving both Laurentian and Amazonian crustal components.

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