Silurian inverted Barrovian-type metamorphism in the Western Sierras Pampeanas (Argentina): a case of top to bottom heating?

Verdecchia, Sebastián O.; Casquet, Cesar; Baldo, Edgardo G.; Larrovere, Mariano A.; Lembo Wuest, Carlos I.; Benítez, Manuela E.; Ramacciotti, Carlos D.; Murra, Juan A.; Pankhurst, Robert J.. 2023 Silurian inverted Barrovian-type metamorphism in the Western Sierras Pampeanas (Argentina): a case of top to bottom heating? Geological Magazine, 160 (5). 972-992.

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This paper focuses on one orogenic belt that formed during the Rinconada phase on the final stage of the Famatinian orogeny, between 445 and 410 Ma, which is well exposed at Sierra de Ramaditas and neighbouring ranges in western Argentina. The Ramaditas Complex is formed by metasedimentary and meta-ultrabasic rocks and amphibolites. This complex forms the upper nappe of a thrust stack resulting from westward thrusting. Deformation consists of an early high-temperature S1 foliation (stromatic migmatites), coeval with thrusting and metamorphism. Metamorphism attained peak P–T conditions of 6.0–6.9 kbar and 795–810 °C, at c. 440 Ma, i.e. coincident with the Rinconada orogenic phase. The lower unit and intermediate nappes crop out in the nearby sierras of Maz and Espinal and underwent low- to medium-grade Silurian metamorphism, respectively, together with the upper nappe, defining an inverted Barrovian-type metamorphism with T decreasing and P increasing downwards across the thrust stack (i.e. westward). We argue that the Rinconada orogenic phase developed near the continental margin of SW Gondwana, during a magmatic lull following accretion of the Precordillera terrane to the continental margin at c. 470 Ma. The active margin jumped to the west after accretion, and flat-slab subduction resumed in the early Silurian, provoking thrusting and imbrication of nappe stack under the still hot root (800–900 °C) of the older Famatinian magmatic arc. This ‘hot-iron’ process explains both the inverted Barrovian-type metamorphism and the missing overburden of 21 to 24 km implied by the P estimate.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0016-7568
Date made live: 10 May 2023 10:31 +0 (UTC)

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