Pressure-temperature-time evolution of Paleozoic high-pressure rocks of the Acatlán Complex (southern Mexico): Implications for the evolution of the Iapetus and Rheic Oceans

Ricardo Vega-Granillo, Oscar Talavera-Mendoza, Diana Meza-Figueroa, Joaquin Ruiz, George E. Gehrels, Margarita López-Martínez, Julio C. de la Cruz-Vargas

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76 Scopus citations


New thermobarometric and U/Pb and 40Ar/39Ar geochronologic data coupled with ages obtained from the Acatlán Complex, the basement of the Mixteco terrane of southern Mexico, reveal the existence of three distinctive high-pressure metamorphic events of early to middle Paleozoic age, each recorded in a separate lithologicai suite. Xayacatlán suite eclogites with oceanic affinity underwent peak metamorphism at 609-491 °C and 13-12 kb during the Early Ordovician (ca. 490-477 Ma, U-Pb zircon), followed by a partial overprint at 600 °C and ∼9.6 kb and then at 500 °C and ∼6.7 kb. An overprinting event at 525-500 °C and ∼9.5 kb is ascribed to the Devonian. The pressure-temperature (P-T) path of the Xayacatlán suite indicates a subduction-exhumation process followed by tectonically related reburial. Ixcamilpa suite blueschists with oceanic affinity underwent epidote-blueschist metamorphism (T, 200-390 °C; P, 6-9 kb) and then epidoteamphibolite (T, 390-580 °C; P, 9-6 kb) events ascribed to the Late Ordovician-Early Silurian. Esperanza suite eclogites with continental affinity underwent peak metamorphism at 830-730 °C and 17-15 kb. Amphibole from eclogite yields a 430 ± 5 Ma 49Ar/39Ar age, dating the high-pressure (HP) event. P-T paths of high-temperature (HT) eclogites like those of the Esperanza suite have been related to the collision of continental blocks. Partial overprinting occurred at 690-640 °C and 14-10 kb prior to 374 ± 2 Ma (40Ar/39Ar, phengite). The three HP suites were tectonically juxtaposed at different times before the Mississippian Period, resulting in the closure of the Iapetus Ocean. Phengite 40Ar/39Ar geochronology reveals the existence of a widespread tectonothermal event between 345 and 323 Ma, which may be related to the juxtaposition of the HP-composed block and the Gondwanan-affinity Cosoltepec suite, causing the closure of the Rheic Ocean. The tectonothermal events in the Acatlán Complex coincide in time, physical conditions, and tectonic setting with events in the Appalachian-Caledonian orogen, suggesting their relation. On that basis the geology of the Acatlán Complex can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the tectonic evolution of the Appalachian orogen and of the Gondwana-Laurentia interactions preceding the Pangean assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1264
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Acatlán Complex
  • Appalachian
  • Blueschist
  • Eclogite
  • Mexico
  • Paleozoic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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