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International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 100, Issue 2–3, pp 273–288 | Cite as

Mesoproterozoic evolution of the Río de la Plata Craton in Uruguay: at the heart of Rodinia?

  • Claudio GaucherEmail author
  • Robert Frei
  • Farid ChemaleJr
  • Dirk Frei
  • Jorge Bossi
  • Gabriela Martínez
  • Leticia Chiglino
  • Federico Cernuschi
Original Paper

Abstract

Mesoproterozoic volcanosedimentary units and tectonic events occurring in the Río de la Plata Craton (RPC) are reviewed. A belt consisting of volcanosedimentary successions exhibiting greenschist-facies metamorphism is exposed in the eastern RPC (Nico Pérez Terrane) in Uruguay. The Parque UTE Group consists of basic volcanics and gabbros at the base (1,492 ± 4 Ma, U–Pb on zircon), carbonates in its middle part and interbedded carbonates, shales and acid volcanics (1,429 ± 21 Ma, U–Pb on zircon) at the top. The Mina Verdún Group is made up of rhyolites and acid pyroclastics at its base and top, and Conophyton-bearing limestones and massive dolostones in the middle. A U–Pb LA-ICP MS zircon age of 1,433 ± 6 Ma is reported here for lapilli-tuffs at the base of the Mina Verdún Group (Cerro de las Víboras Formation). This age shows that the Mina Verdún Group immediately postdates the Parque UTE Group, a fact supported by carbon isotope chemostratigraphy. Both units were deformed and metamorphosed between 1.25 and 1.20 Ga, as shown by K–Ar and Ar–Ar ages. This tectonic event affected most of the RPC and led to the accretion of the Nico Pérez Terrane to the remainder of the RPC along the Sarandí del Yí megashear. We report a U–Pb LA-ICP MS zircon age (upper intercept) of 3,096 ± 45 Ma for metatonalites of the La China Complex (Nico Pérez Terrane), which yield a lower intercept age of 1,252 Ma. A proto-Andean, Mesoproterozoic belt is envisaged to account for abundant Mesoproterozoic detrital zircon ages occurring in Ediacaran sandstones of the RPC. If the RPC is fringed at both sides by Mesoproterozoic, Grenville-aged belts it is likely that it occupied a rather central position in Rodinia. A possible location between Laurentia and the Kalahari Craton, and to the south of Amazonia, is suggested.

Keywords

Grenvillian Río de la Plata Craton Rodinia Gondwana Uruguay 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Field trips and geological mapping of the areas studied in this paper were financed by two research projects of CSIC (Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica; Uruguay) to C. G. Laboratory expenses were funded by FNU (Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation) big frame project 272-07-0244 26444 to R. F. We thank the Compañía Nacional de Cementos SA (Pan de Azúcar, Uruguay) for kindly providing access to its operations at Cantera Burgueño. The authors thank C. Cingolani and J. Jacobs for thought-provoking, constructive reviews that helped improve an earlier version of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Gaucher
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert Frei
    • 2
  • Farid ChemaleJr
    • 3
  • Dirk Frei
    • 4
  • Jorge Bossi
    • 5
  • Gabriela Martínez
    • 1
  • Leticia Chiglino
    • 6
  • Federico Cernuschi
    • 7
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de GeologíaMontevideoUruguay
  2. 2.Institute of Geography and Geology and Nordic Center for Earth Evolution (NordCEE)University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Núcleo de Geologia,Universidade Federal de SergipeSão CristovãoBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  5. 5.Cátedra de Geología, Facultad de AgronomíaMontevideoUruguay
  6. 6.NEG-LABISE, Departamento de GeologiaUniversidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE)RecifeBrazil
  7. 7.Department of GeosciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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