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Tectonic setting and isotopic sources (Sm–Nd) of the SW Iberian Autochthon (Variscan Orogen)

Abstract

Metasedimentary rock successions in Sierra Albarrana Group (SW Iberia Autochthonous Domain) were deposited during the Early Paleozoic influenced by the evolution of a peri-Gondwanan active margin. Their geochemical composition indicates dominant contributions from felsic igneous sources and an upper continental crust provenance. The high mineralogical and geochemical maturity, together with negative εNd(530), ranging from − 11.3 to − 4.5, and old Nd model ages (TDM: 1388–1897 Ma) imply reworked materials from old continental source areas with a limited juvenile contribution for the siliciclastic sedimentary rocks in Sierra Albarrana. Both, geochemical and isotope features were caused by the progressive denudation of rocks bearing the isotopic imprint from an old basement exposed along the Gondwanan margin. The paleobasin for the SW Iberia Autochthon probably occupied an outboard position across the peri-Gondwanan margin during Ediacaran–Cambrian times. In a convergent scenario, the interaction between the peri-Gondwanan trench and the external part of the continent generated tectonic uplift, giving way to exposure of crust formed during earlier stages of the Cadomian Orogeny and erosion. Sediment redistribution through Early Paleozoic times supplied recycled detrital materials, which likely filled a retro-arc basin formed after the switch from an extensional to a compressional regime in the upper plate of the Cadomian Orogen that is recorded throughout the peri-Gondwanan domain of Iberia. A subsequent extensional stage led to a progressive widening of its marginal basins, thus bringing the onset of a passive margin from the Cambro–Ordovician onwards. Nd model ages of the Sierra Albarrana Group overlap those of Early Cambrian series from the southernmost Central Iberian Zone, and are considered an indication for the paleogeographic closeness between all these sequences during Cambrian times, occupying eastern positions closer to Tuareg Shield and the Sahara Metacraton sections along the Gondwanan margin.

Resumen

Las series de rocas metasedimentarias en el Grupo Sierra Albarrana (Dominio Autóctono del SW de Iberia) se depositaron durante el Paleozoico Inferior, influidas por la evolución de un margen activo peri-Gondwánico. Su composición geoquímica indica una contribución dominante desde fuentes ígneas félsicas con afinidad con una corteza continental superior. La elevada madurez mineralógica y geoquímica, junto con valores negativos de εNd(530) (− 11.3 a − 4.5) y edades modelo de Nd relativamente antiguas (TDM: 1388–1897 Ma), implica materiales retrabajados desde áreas fuente continentales antiguas, con una contribución juvenil limitada para las rocas siliciclásticas estudiadas en el Grupo Sierra Albarrana. Sus características geoquímicas e isotópicas fueron fruto de una denudación progresiva de rocas con una composición isotópica afín a un basamento antiguo expuesto a lo largo del margen de Gondwana. Teniendo en cuenta la información disponible para el SW del Macizo Ibérico, la paleocuenca del Dominio Autóctono del SW de Iberia probablemente ocupó posiciones externas en el margen peri-Gondwánico durante la transición Ediacárico-Cámbrico. En un contexto de convergencia, la interacción entre la trinchera peri-Gondwánica y la parte externa del continente ocasionó probablemente un levantamiento tectónico pronunciado, dando lugar a la exposición y posterior erosión de la corteza continental peri-Gondwánica formada durante las etapas iniciales de la Orogenia Cadomiense. La redistribución de sedimentos durante el Paleozoico Inferior aportó materiales detríticos reciclados, que probablemente rellenaron una cuenca retro-arco, formada tras el cambio de un régimen compresivo a uno extensional en la placa superior del Orógeno Cadomiense y que se registra a lo largo de todo el dominio peri-Gondwánico de Iberia. El avance en la extensión condujo a un progresivo ensanchamiento de las cuencas marginales, marcando el inicio de un margen pasivo desde el periodo Cambro-Ordovícico en adelante. Las edades modelo de Nd del Grupo Sierra Albarrana se solapan con las obtenidas en series del Cámbrico Inferior del sur de la Zona Centro Ibérica, y se consideran indicadoras de una cercanía paleogeográfica entre estas secuencias durante el Cámbrico, ocupando posiciones relativamente orientales, cercanas al Escudo de Tuareg y al Metacratón del Sahara.

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source area weathering and recycling in Sierra Albarrana metasedimentary rocks. Post Archean Australian Shale (PAAS; Taylor and McLennan 1985) has been included for comparison

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Acknowledgements

This work is dedicated to the extensive career that Professor Carmen Galindo devoted to Geology, and more particularly to Isotope Geochemistry, carrying out for over 25 years an invaluable work as head of the Geochronology and Isotope Geochemistry Service (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). She was also an inspiration to Geology students who decided devote their scientific career to the fascinating field of Geochemistry. We would like to acknowledge the invaluable help of the editor Pilar Montero, as well as the insightful and constructive contributions made by Aitor Cambeses and another anonymous reviewer that has resulted in an improved version of the manuscript. Financial support has been provided by the Spanish project CGL2016-76438-P (Ministerio de Economía Industria y Competitividad). This work is a contribution to IGCP project 683 (Pre-Atlantic geological connections among northwest Africa, Iberia and eastern North America: Implications for continental configurations and economic resources).

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Fuenlabrada, J.M., Arenas, R., Díez Fernández, R. et al. Tectonic setting and isotopic sources (Sm–Nd) of the SW Iberian Autochthon (Variscan Orogen). J Iber Geol 47, 121–150 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41513-020-00148-7

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Keywords

  • Iberian massif
  • Sm–Nd isotope geochemistry
  • SW autochthonous domain
  • Sierra Albarrana Group
  • Gondwanan paleogeography

Palabras clave

  • Macizo Ibérico
  • Geoquímica isotópica Sm–Nd
  • Dominio Autóctono del SW
  • Grupo Sierra Albarrana
  • Paleogeografía de Gondwana