Southeastern Section - 67th Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 28-2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


DICKSON, Hannah, BOLLEN, Elizabeth M. and STOWELL, Harold H., Geological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

The Ducktown ore bodies are hosted by garnet zone rocks of the western Blue Ridge (WBR). Sulfide deposits in Ducktown are located in the Copperhill formation in the lower part of the Great Smoky Group and the rich Cu ore bodies are likely to be lower Cambrian, but could be pre-Cambrian. The sample for this study was collected from the Bura Bura mine tailings courtesy of the Ducktown Basin Museum.

Pressure, temperature, and timing of metamorphism in the Ducktown area are poorly characterized. Monazite EPMA ages from the Ocoee Gorge, ca. 24 km west of Ducktown, indicate that metamorphism occurred ca. 400 Ma (Kohn and Malloy 2003). Zircon U-Pb from Winding Stair Gap, ca. 77 km east of Ducktown in the eastern Blue Ridge, indicate granulite facies metamorphism and partial melting ca. 458 Ma (Moecher et al., 2004). Whole rock 40Ar/39Ar cooling ages for the WBR, ca. 5-175 km north of Ducktown, range from 499-389 Ma (Connelly and Dallmeyer, 1993). These results are compatible with Ducktown metamorphism during the Taconic, Neoacadian or early Alleghanian orogenies.

The sample analyzed for this study is an clinoamphibole-garnet-chlorite schist. The protolith is likely a basalt based on major element chemical composition: 49.88% SiO2, 15.28% Al2O3, 5.05% MgO, 23.73% Fe2O3. Minerals present are actinolite-hornblende, garnet, chlorite, quartz, plagioclase, biotite, and arsenopyrite. The rock is foliated with 4-7 mm subhedral garnet containing predominantly quartz inclusions. Chlorite surrounding garnet suggests final mineral growth during decreasing temperatures.

Aliquots used for Sm-Nd geochronology are whole rock (WR), matrix (Mtx), amphibole (Amp), and garnet (core, rim, and bulk). 147Sm/144Nd isotope ratios are 0.0992-0.1149 for WR, Mtx, and Amp, and 0.6115-2.6306 for garnet separates. Sm-Nd data yield an age of 449±12 Ma (7 pts., 2s uncertainty) and an initial 147Sm/144Nd of 0.00017. Our new age indicates that garnet zone metamorphism is Taconic and not Alleghanian. Therefore, early Alleghanian metamorphism in the Blue Ridge of Alabama did not extend to the western Blue Ridge in southern Tennessee.