40Ar/39Ar and U-Pb evidence for late proterozoic (Grenville-age) continental crust in north-central Cuba and regional tectonic implications

Paul R. Renne, James M. Mattinson, Charles W. Hatten, Mark Somin, Tullis C. Onstott, Guillermo Millán, Evelio Linares

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Central Cuba is composed of fault-bounded tectonostratigraphic terranes juxtaposed and deformed during plate collision and subsequent transform motion between the Caribbean and North American plates in the Late Mesozoic-Cenozoic. One of these, the Las Villas terrane, contains crystalline basement rocks thought to be pre-Upper Jurassic on stratigraphic grounds. The Socorro Complex occurs in the northwestern Las Villas terrane, and consists of marbles and siliciclastic metasedimentary rocks, and the Río Caña Granite. An 40Ar/39Ar plateau date of 903.5 ± 7.1 Ma for phlogopite from a marble corroborates previous K-Ar dates from this unit, and establishes unambiguously a Late Proterozoic age for high-grade metamorphism. Discordance of the 40Ar/39Ar age spectrum can be reliably attributed to diffusive Ar loss, which if modeled as an episodic thermal event implies a reheating age that closely coincides with the Late-Cretaceous-Paleogene collision between the Caribbean and North American plates. U-Pb zircon data indicate an intrusive age of 172.4 Ma for the Río Caña Granite, and reveal an inherited zircon component with an age of ∼900 Ma. Radio-isotopic data from the Socorro Complex display no evidence of Pan-African age thermal overprinting. These observations, combined with constraints provided by published results from nearly Pangean landmasses, suggest that the complex lay substantially to the southwest (present-day co-ordinates) during the Early Paleozoic. Following its genesis in the mid-Mesozoic, the Caribbean plate evidently transported fragments of an extensive Grenville-age belt that spanned the Americas during the Late Proterozoic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-341
Number of pages17
JournalPrecambrian Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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