Isotope (Sr, C) and U–Pb SHRIMP zircon geochronology of marble-bearing sedimentary series in the Eastern Sierras Pampeanas, Argentina. Constraining the SW Gondwana margin in Ediacaran to early Cambrian times

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The Sierras de Córdoba Metasedimentary Series consists of marbles and metasiliciclastic rocks of Ediacaran to early Cambrian age (ca. 630 and 540 Ma) that underwent high-grade metamorphism during the collisional Pampean orogeny in the early Cambrian. The ages of the marbles were determined from the Sr-isotope composition (blind dating) of screened samples of almost pure calcite marble and were further constrained with C- and O-isotope data and U–Pb SHRIMP detrital zircon ages of an interbedded paragneiss. Two groups of samples are recognised with Sr-isotope composition ca. 0.7075 and 0.7085 that are considered stratigraphically significant. The first is inferred early Ediacaran, the second late Ediacaran to early Cambrian. The Sierras de Córdoba Metasedimentary Series is correlated for the first time with marble-bearing metasedimentary series in several sierras to the west and north of Sierras de Córdoba (e.g., the Difunta Correa Sedimentary Sequence and the Ancaján Series), implying that all were probably parts of an originally extensive sedimentary cover. These series bear evidence of sedimentary sources in the Mesoproterozoic (and Paleoproterozoic) basement of the Western Sierras Pampeanas (part of the large MARA continental block) and farther west (Laurentia?). In terms of the age of limestones/marbles and detrital zircon patterns, the Sierras de Córdoba Metasedimentary Series differs strongly from the older section of late Ediacaran to early Cambrian Puncoviscana Formation of northwestern Argentina, which mostly outcrops in northern Sierra Chica and Sierra Norte, with sedimentary input from western Gondwana sources. The Sierras de Córdoba Metasedimentary Series and the Puncoviscana Formation were probably juxtaposed during the Pampean orogeny along a complex suture zone that was further folded and/or imbricated at mid-crustal depths. The peak of metamorphism was attained at 527 ± 2 Ma. According to the evidence found here most of the Sierras Pampeanas to the west of the Sierras de Córdoba were part of the lower colliding plate during the final amalgamation of SW Gondwana.
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