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U-Pb dates on magmatic and detrital zircon from samples in the hinterland of the Taconic orogen place new constraints on the timing and plate tectonic geometry of terrane accretion and magmatic arc activity. The Moretown terrane, a Gondwanan-derived exotic block, extends from the Rowe Schist-Moretown Formation contact in the west to the Bronson Hill arc in the east. Arc-related plutonic and volcanic rocks formed above an east-dipping subduction zone under the western leading edge of the Moretown terrane from approximately 500 to 475 Ma, until collision with hyperextended distal fragments of Laurentia, represented by the Rowe Schist, at 475 Ma. Magmatic arc rocks formed during this interval are primarily located in the Shelburne Falls arc, although some are also located in the Bronson Hill arc to the east. Metasedimentary rocks in the Shelburne Falls arc contain detrital zircon derived from mixing of Gondwanan, Laurentian, and arc sources, suggesting that the Moretown terrane was proximal to Laurentia by 475 Ma. Explosive eruptions at 466 to 464 Ma preserved in the Barnard Volcanic Member of the Missisquoi Formation in Vermont and as ash beds in the Indian River Formation in the Taconic allochthons may record slab-breakoff of subducted lithosphere following collision of the Moretown terrane with distal Laurentian crustal fragments. Between 466 and 455 Ma a reversal in subduction polarity lead to a west-dipping subduction zone under Laurentia and the newly accreted Moretown terrane. Magmatic arc rocks in the Bronson Hill arc formed above this west-dipping subduction zone along the eastern trailing edge of the Moretown terrane at approximately 455 to 440 Ma. The western boundary of Ganderia in New England is east of the Bronson Hill arc, buried beneath Silurian and Devonian rocks deformed during the Acadian orogeny.

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This document was originally published in the American Journal of Science by HighWire Press. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.2475/05.2017.01