From Cadomian magmatic arc to Rheic ocean closure: The geochronological-geochemical record of nappe protoliths of the Münchberg Massif, NE Bavaria (Germany)

Research paper by Nikola Koglin, Armin Zeh; Gerhard Franz; Ulrich Schüssler; Johannes Glodny; Axel Gerdes; Helene Brätz

Indexed on: 23 Nov '17Published on: 10 Nov '17Published in: Gondwana Research


Publication date: Available online 10 November 2017 Source:Gondwana Research Author(s): Nikola Koglin, Armin Zeh, Gerhard Franz, Ulrich Schüssler, Johannes Glodny, Axel Gerdes, Helene Brätz The Münchberg Massif in northeastern Bavaria, Germany is an allochthonous metamorphic nappe complex within the Saxothuringian Zone of the Variscan orogen. From top to bottom it consists of four major units: Hangend-Serie, Liegend-Serie, Randamphibolit-Serie and Prasinit-Phyllit-Serie, which show an inverted metamorphic gradient of eclogite- to amphibolite-facies (top) to greenschist-facies (bottom) and are separated from each other by thrust faults. New geochemical and U-Pb zircon data indicate that the four units host metasedimentary and meta-igneous rocks which were formed at different time and in distinct geotectonic settings during the evolution of the Saxothuringian terrane between 550 and 370Ma. Mafic and felsic protoliths of the Hangend-Serie result from a bimodal magmatism in an evolved oceanic to continental magmatic arc setting at about 550Ma. These rocks represent relics of the Cadomian magmatic arc, which formed a cordillera at the northern margin of Gondwana during the Neoproterozoic. The Liegend-Serie hosts slivers of granitic orthogneisses, emplaced during magmatic events at c. 505 and 480Ma, and Early Palaeozoic paragneisses, with our samples deposited at ≤483Ma. Ortho- and paragneisses were affected by an amphibolite-facies metamorphic overprint at c. 380Ma. Granite emplacement and sediment deposition can be related to the separation of the Avalonia microterrane from the northern Gondwana margin. Amphibolite protoliths of the Randamphibolit-Serie emplaced at c. 400Ma. They show MORB to E-MORB signatures, pointing to their formation along an oceanic spreading centre within the Rheic ocean. Mafic igneous rocks in the Prasinit-Phyllit-Serie emplaced at nearly the same time (407–401Ma), but their calc-alkaline to tholeiitic character rather suggests formation in an intra-oceanic island arc/back arc system. This convergent margin lasted for about 30Ma until the Late Devonian, as is suggested by a maximum deposition age of 371Ma of associated phyllites, and by metamorphic Ar-Ar ages of 374–368Ma. The timing of the different magmatic and sedimentary events in the Münchberg Massif and their plate tectonic settings are similar to those estimated for other Variscan nappe complexes throughout Europe, comprising the French Massif Central and NW Spain. This similarity indicates that the Münchberg Massif forms part of a European-wide suture zone, along which rock units of different origin were assembled in a complex way during the Variscan Orogeny. Graphical abstract