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High-precision CA-TIMS 206Pb/238U zircon dates from sandstone and Brighton igneous rocks associated with Roxbury Conglomerate in the Boston Basin, eastern Massachusetts provide constraints on the age and tectonic significance of these deposits. Detrital zircon suites from Roxbury-related sandstones representing, in ascending order, the Franklin Park Member (proposed name), the Brookline Member and the Squantum Member establish closely comparable maximum depositional ages of 595.14 ± 0.90, 598.87 ± 0.71 and 596.39 ± 0.79 Ma, respectively. The youngest of these is the best maximum age estimate of the conglomerate. Brighton dacite near the base of the Brookline Member and amygdaloidal andesite near the top yield respective crystallization ages of 584.19 ± 0.70 Ma and 585.37 ± 0.72 Ma. These virtually identical dates support previous interpretations of these particular units as shallow intrusions and thus represent minimum ages of associated conglomerate. The Roxbury-Brighton sequence is traditionally shown as inter-fingering northward with ≤570 Ma mudstone of the Cambridge “Argillite,” but the age range of the conglomerate makes this impossible. Conglomerate lacking quartzite clasts typical of the Roxbury proper and associated with 593.19 ± 0.73 Ma rhyolite on the south side of the basin is re-assigned to the Lynn-Mattapan Volcanic Complex which rests unconformably on Dedham Granite in basement exposed west and north of the basin as well.

Calc-alkaline geochemistry and ages of the 609 to 584 Ma Dedham-Lynn-Mattapan-Brighton assemblage link it with 630 to 580 Ma arc sequences in other northern Appalachian Avalonian terranes. Roxbury Conglomerate accumulated in fault-bounded intra-arc basins near the end of this magmatic cycle.

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This document was originally published by the American Journal of Science in American Journal of Science. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.2475/06.2014.02