Age and Origin of the Merrimack Terrane, Southeastern New England
Sorota, Kristin Joy. “Age and Origin of the Merrimack Terrane, Southeastern New England”, Boston College, 2013. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/3043.
Metasedimentary rocks of the Merrimack terrane (MT) originated as a thick cover sequence on Ganderia consisting of sandstones, calcareous sandstones, pelitic rocks and turbidites. In order to investigate the age, provenance and stratigraphic order of these rocks and correlations with adjoining terranes, detrital zircon suites from 7 formations across the MT along a NNE-trending transect from east-central Massachusetts to SE New Hampshire were analyzed by U-Pb LA-ICP-MS methods on 90-140 grains per sample. The youngest detrital zircons in the western units, the Worcester, Oakdale and Paxton Formations, are ca. 438 Ma while those in the Kittery, Eliot and Berwick Formations in the northeast are ca. 426 Ma. The Tower Hill Formation previously interpreted to form the easternmost unit of the MT in MA, has a distinctly different zircon distribution with its youngest zircon population in the Cambrian. All samples except for the Tower Hill Formation have detrital zircon age distributions with significant peaks in the mid-to late Ordovician, similar abundances of early Paleozoic and late Neoproterozoic zircons, significant input from ~1.0 to ~1.8 Ga sources and limited Archean grains. The similarities in zircon provenance suggest that all units across the terrane, except for the Tower Hill Formation, belong to a single sequence of rocks, with similar sources and with the units in the NE possibly being somewhat younger than those in east-central Massachusetts. The continuous zircon age distributions observed throughout the Mesoproterozoic and late Paleoproterozoic are consistent with an Amazonian source. All samples, except the Tower Hill Formation, show sedimentary input from both Ganderian and Laurentian sources and suggest that Laurentian input increases as the maximum depositional age decreases.