Geochronology of Zircon in Eclogite Reveals Imbrication of the Ultrahigh-Pressure Western Gneiss Region of Norway.

Thursday, 18 December 2014
David J Young, University of Texas at San Antonio, Geological Sciences, San Antonio, TX, United States, Andrew R Kylander-Clark, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States and David B Root, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Eclogite provides the only record of kinematic events at the deepest levels of orogens. Integrating the U-Pb geochronology and trace element chemistry of zircon in eclogite reveals the most complete view of the PTt history, yet low concentrations of uranium and zirconium and drier compositions that hinder zircon growth at peak conditions render it a challenging rocktype for this approach.

The iconic Western Gneiss Region (WGR) in Norway is one of the largest terranes of deeply subducted continental rocks in the world, and contains many indicators of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic conditions (P>2.8 GPa) that developed during the Siluro-Devonian Caledonian Orogeny. A metamorphic transition from amphibolite-facies to ultrahigh-pressure eclogite facies broadly coincides with a km-scale shear zone that underlies the majority of the WGR. A critical unknown is the timing of movement on this feature, which emplaced allochthonous units above the Baltica basement, but might also have accommodated late-orogenic exhumation of the WGR from mantle depths.

We carried out laser ablation split-stream ICPMS (LASS) and selected multigrain TIMS analyses of zircons from eleven eclogites across the southern WGR, of which eight are located within or above the shear zone. LASS spots on polished grains mostly yield weakly discordant Proterozoic intrusive ages, and often minimal indication of a Caledonian (U)HP metamorphic overprint. Direct ablation into unpolished zircon reveals thin rims of Caledonian age in some cases. Overall, the dataset shows that all samples began zircon growth at approximately the same time (ca. 430-420 Ma). Eclogite from lower levels of the shear zone does not contain any dates younger than ca. 410 Ma, however, while eclogite from higher levels continued growth until ca. 400 Ma. We interpret this to result from thrusting of the WGR above cooler basement after 410 Ma, terminating new zircon crystallization within the shear zone but allowing limited further growth in rocks above.