Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. David P. Moecher


Terrane discrimination in polycyclic continental basement rocks is challenging due to high-grade metamorphism and intense deformation. Based on early USGS mapping the Blue Ridge basement in the Dellwood quadrangle of the eastern Great Smoky Mountains was proposed to consist of augen orthogneisses of Laurentian (Grenvillian) affinity interfolded with migmatitic hornblende and biotite paragneisses (“Carolina Gneiss”) and amphibolites of uncertain affinity. However, detailed study reveals that the hornblende gneiss of Hadley and Goldsmith (1963) is a heterogeneous map unit consisting of (1)metaplutonic rocks; (2) variably foliated and folded felsic orthogneisses; (3) strongly migmatitic, folded Hbl+Bt-bearing gneisses; (4) foliated and lineated garnet amphibolites Field relations, petrology, and geochemistry demonstrate that felsic orthogneisses are related to metaplutonic rocks via (post-Taconian) progressive deformation and reconstitution. Whole rock XRF geochemistry reveals likely protoliths of Hbl gneiss and Bt gneiss are geochemically similar and have common sources. U-Pb zircon geochronology and field relationships suggest felsic orthogneisses (1050 Ma,1150-1190 Ma, 1250-1300 Ma) are components of the Mesoproterozoic Grenville basement, and not part of a metamorphosed Neoproterozoic syn-rift Laurentian margin cover sequence. A previously unknown age mode for Mesoproterozoic plutonism in the southern Appalachians was discovered (~1250-1300 Ma) suggesting the presence of a component exotic to pre-Grenvillian Laurentia (Amazonia?).

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