An insight into the breakup of Gondwana: Identifying events through low-temperature thermochronology from the basement rocks of Madagascar
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Fission track analysis was applied to the Precambrian suites of Madagascar in order to identify the lower-temperature cooling histories and their relationships to the Phanerozoic events that affected the island. Apatite ages range from 431 to 68 Ma, and zircon ages range from 452 to 238 Ma. Thermochronologically, the island can be divided into a southern, central, and northern region each with a subdivision on an east-west basis. The southern region is sharply separated from the central region by strongly contrasting apparent apatite ages over the northwest-southeast striking Ranotsara Shear Zone (RSZ). The change in apparent ages over the RSZ is indicative of later reactivation along younger brittle faults. The central region has the oldest ages of the island and has a diffuse contact to the third region northward. Along the entire western margin of the Precambrian basement initial Paleozoic exhumation was followed by heating (burial by sediments) during Jurassic and Cretaceous times. A decrease in ages along the eastern margin from 119 to 68 Ma coincides with the predicted positions of the Marion hot spot after effects of erosion are considered. On the other hand, these ages may represent progressive opening of the margin in a southward direction together with associated denudation of the rift shoulder. The eastern part of the central region has remained very stable since at least Devonian times, undergoing only long-term very slow exhumation at rates of 1-5 m/Myr.
Seward, D., D. Grujic, and G. Schreurs. 2004. "An insight into the breakup of Gondwana: Identifying events through low-temperature thermochronology from the basement rocks of Madagascar." Tectonics 23(3): 3007-TC3007. doi:10.1029/2003TC001556 ;