Geological Society of London
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Tectonic escape of a crustal fragment during the closure of the Rheic Ocean: U–Pb detrital zircon data from the Late Palaeozoic Pulo do Lobo and South Portuguese zones, southern Iberia

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posted on 2016-06-21, 12:27 authored by James A. Braid, J. Brendan Murphy, Cecilio Quesada, Jim Mortensen

The Pulo do Lobo Zone, which crops out immediately north of the allochthonous South Portuguese Zone in southern Iberia, is classically interpreted as a polydeformed accretionary complex developed along the southern margin of the Gondwanan parautochthon (Ossa–Morena Zone), during the late Palaeozoic closure of the Rheic Ocean. This closure was a major event during the amalgamation of Pangaea. U–Pb laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry dating of detrital zircons from late Palaeozoic Devono-Carboniferous clastic units in the South Portuguese Zone and Pulo do Lobo Zone yield contrasting age populations and attest to the exotic nature of both zones. Detrital zircons from the South Portuguese Zone display populations typical of detritus derived from either Gondwana (Ossa–Morena Zone), or peri-Gondwanan terranes. In contrast, rocks from the Pulo do Lobo Zone contain populations consistent with derivation from Baltica, Laurentia or recycled early Silurian deposits along the Laurentian margin. An example of one such deposit is the Southern Uplands terrane of the British Caledonides. Taken together, these data can be reconciled by a model involving tectonic transport of a crustal fragment that was laterally equivalent to the Southern Uplands terrane between the allochthonous South Portuguese Zone and Gondwana as a result of an early Devonian collision between an Iberian indenter with Laurussia.