The Phanerozoic thermo-tectonic evolution of northern Mozambique constrained by 40Ar/39Ar, fission track and (U-Th)/He analyses

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Thermochronology, Fission track, (U-Th)/He, 40Ar/39Ar,Mozambique, Gondwana, supercontinent dispersal. - Results of thermochronometric investigations comprising 40Ar/39Ar hornblende and biotite, titanite and apatite fission track (FT) and apatite (U-Th)/He dating on 102 basement rock samples from northern Mozambique record a cooling and denudation history since Early Palaeozoic times. In the north Mozambican sector, these results place new temporal and geometric constraints on the initial rift and subsequent drift configuration during the Gondwana supercontinent dispersal as well as on the post break-up evolution of the sheared margin of central East Africa. Furthermore, they highlight the influence exerted by ductile basement structures of Pan-African age on the loci of tectonically active zone and associated denudation since the Late Palaeozoic. 40Ar/39Ar hornblende and biotite ages range from c. 542 Ma to 456 Ma and c. 448 Ma to 428 Ma, respectively. They record the cooling from the latest Pan-African metamorphic imprint, presumably related to the formation of the Namama Thrust Belt at c. 550-500 Ma, at slow rates of about 11Âʿ 7ÂʿC/Ma from 525ÂʿC to 305ÂʿC in Early to Late Ordovician times. Locally, the thermal influences of syn- to post-tectonic granitoid / pegmatite emplacements at about 500-450 Ma delayed cooling. Widespread basement cooling to < 350ãA°C occurred in Late Ordovician to Early Silurian times. The titanite fission track ages fall into two age groups of c. 378 Ma to 327 Ma and c. 284 Ma to 219 Ma. Very slow cooling since the Late Ordovician/Early Silurian at rates of < 1ãA°C/Ma to below 275 ãA« 25ãA°C in the Late Devonian/Early Carboniferous is deduced from the older titanite FT ages. It is related to decreasing denudation in ...
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