Monazite geochronology of UHP and HP metamorphism, deformation, and exhumation Nordøyane, Western Gneiss Region, Norway

M. P. Terry*, P. Robinson, M. A. Hamilton, M. J. Jercinovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Citations (Scopus)


U-Th-Pb monazite geochronology is combined with previous structural analysis and quantitative estimates of metamorphic conditions to date the thermotectonic evolution of UHP and HP plates (820 °C, 39 kbar; 780 °C, 18 kbar) metamorphosed during the Late Silurian-Early Devonian collision between Baltica and Laurentia. The Upper Plate contains a microdiamond-bearing, kyanite-garnet-graphite gneiss and associated kyanite eclogites, independently indicating probable diamond-forming conditions. In situ dating of monazite in the microdiamond sample, using the SHRIMP II at the Geological Survey of Canada, yielded ages of 415 ± 6.8 Ma for those included in garnet and 398 ± 6 Ma for those in the matrix. These ages compare to 408.0 ± 5.6 and 397.5 ± 4.4 Ma determined using the electron microprobe at the University of Massachussetts. Both methods also identified complexly zoned detrital cores up to 150 micrometers in diameter with ages of 1100-950 Ma and scattered grains with ages of 900-500 Ma, but no ages of 1680-1650 Ma equivalent to the local Baltica basement were found. Agreement between the two techniques allowed evaluation of monazite age domains (198 analyses) from the microdiamond rock and a kyanite-garnet-sillimanite mylonite produced from it, using a combination of high-resolution element imaging and trace-element analysis of U, Th, Pb, and Y. This comparison yielded three mean ages of 407.0 ± 2.1 Ma, 394.8 ± 2.3 Ma, and 374.6 ± 2.7 Ma. Combining this geochronology with previous P-T estimates, we propose that the UHP unit reached its maximum depth of 125 km, at a maximum age of 407 Ma when monazite was included in garnet, and experienced 65 km of exhumation at an average rate of 10.9 mm/year during top-southeast thrusting that brought it into contact with the HP unit. Following these events, both units were exhumed together at an average rate of 3.8 mm/year until reaching a depth of 37 km at 395 Ma, where these rocks experienced extensive re-equilibration, and top-west and left-lateral shearing. After 395 Ma, these units continued to be exhumed at an average rate of 0.8 to 1.4 mm/year until 375 Ma, the time of last equilibration of asymmetric monazite porphyroclasts in the mylonite. The exhumation histories of these units record a change in mechanism from syncollisional exhumation through late- to post-orogenic collapse that was a consequence of plate reorganization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651-1664
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Mineralogist
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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