International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 96, Issue 2, pp 253–269 | Cite as

New insights into the history and origin of the southern Maya block, SE México: U–Pb–SHRIMP zircon geochronology from metamorphic rocks of the Chiapas massif

  • Bodo Weber
  • Alexander Iriondo
  • Wayne R. Premo
  • Lutz Hecht
  • Peter Schaaf
Original Paper


The histories of the pre-Mesozoic landmasses in southern México and their connections with Laurentia, Gondwana, and among themselves are crucial for the understanding of the Late Paleozoic assembly of Pangea. The Permian igneous and metamorphic rocks from the Chiapas massif as part of the southern Maya block, México, were dated by U–Pb zircon geochronology employing the SHRIMP (sensitive high resolution ion microprobe) facility at Stanford University. The Chiapas massif is composed of deformed granitoids and orthogneisses with inliers of metasedimentary rocks. SHRIMP data from an anatectic orthogneiss demonstrate that the Chiapas massif was part of a Permian (∼ 272 Ma) active continental margin established on the Pacific margin of Gondwana after the Ouachita orogeny. Latest Permian (252–254 Ma) medium- to high-grade metamorphism and deformation affected the entire Chiapas massif, resulting in anatexis and intrusion of syntectonic granitoids. This unique orogenic event is interpreted as the result of compression due to flat subduction and accretionary tectonics. SHRIMP data of zircon cores from a metapelite from the NE Chiapas massif yielded a single Grenvillian source for sediments. The majority of the zircon cores from a para-amphibolite from the SE part of the massif yielded either 1.0–1.2 or 1.4–1.5 Ga sources, indicating provenance from South American Sunsás and Rondonian-San Ignacio provinces.


Geochronology SHRIMP Metamorphic rocks Maya SE México 



This work was supported by CONACYT project D41083-F, DFG/BMZ collaboration project HE2893/3,4-1, and CICESE internal project 644111. We thank Susana Rosas-Montoya, Victor Pérez-Arroyoz, and Gabriel Rendón-Márquez (CICESE) for their help in preparing the zircon separates and thin sections. We are grateful to Fernando Ortega-Gutiérrez and Mariano Elías-Herrera for their helpful discussion in the field. Ralf Hiller and Birgit Gruner assisted in the field and petrologic work. We are grateful to Joe Wooden for assistance in running the SHRIMP-RG at Stanford University and for being available almost round the clock. Many thanks to Martin Meschede (Greifswald, Germany) and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments. Last but not the least, we thank José Carlos Pisaño-Soto, Pedro Hernández Martínez, and all other staff members from “Reserva de la Biosfera La Sepultura” (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas) in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, for their logistical support during field work in the Sepultura area; thanks are also due to Armando Pohlenz and Don Martin Pohlenz for their hospitality and their logistical support at the Finca Custepec.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bodo Weber
    • 1
    • 7
  • Alexander Iriondo
    • 2
    • 6
  • Wayne R. Premo
    • 3
  • Lutz Hecht
    • 4
  • Peter Schaaf
    • 5
  1. 1.División Ciencias de la TierraCentro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE)Ensenada BCMexico
  2. 2.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  3. 3.US Geological SurveyDenver Federal CenterDenverUSA
  4. 4.Institut für Mineralogie, Museum für NaturkundeHumboldt-Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  5. 5.Instituto de Geofísica and Instituto de GeologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)Coyoacan DFMexico
  6. 6.Centro de Geociencias UNAMQueretaroMexico
  7. 7.Earth Science DivisionCICESESan DiegoUSA

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