The Vila de Cruces Ophiolite: A Remnant of the Early Rheic Ocean in the Variscan Suture of Galicia (Northwest Iberian Massif)

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The Vila de Cruces ophiolite is one of the ophiolitic units involved in the Variscan suture of the northwest Iberian Massif. This ophiolite consists of a tectonically repeated succession of greenschist facies volcanic rocks, common alternations of metasediments of pelitic or siliceous character, and scarce orthogneisses, metagabbros, and serpentinites. The protolith age of a granitic orthogneiss that intruded the mafic rocks is dated at 497±4 Ma (U-Pb in zircons). This age can be considered a reference for the generation of the ophiolite. According to their contents of some of the most immobile trace elements, the greenschist and the metagabbros are derived from basaltic magmas with compositions similar to those of island-arc tholeiites. The influence of a subduction zone in the generation of the original basaltic magmas can be deduced from the marked negative Nb anomaly observed in all the metabasic rocks of this ophiolite. The granitic orthogneisses can also be genetically related to the basic rocks because they are similar to granitic rocks generated in volcanic arcs. The Vila de Cruces ophiolite is interpreted as a suprasubduction zone ophiolite generated in Late Cambrian times, during the early stages of the opening of the Rheic Ocean. The ophiolite was probably generated in a back-arc basin developed during the first stages of the pulling apart and later drift of one or more peri-Gondwanan terranes, one of them represented by the upper allochthon of the northwest Iberian Massif.
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