Evidence for ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism discovered in the appalachian orogen

Joseph P. Gonzalez, Suzanne L. Baldwin, Jay B. Thomas, William O. Nachlas, Paul G. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The Appalachian orogen has long been enigmatic because, compared to other parts of the Paleozoic orogens that formed following the subduction of the Iapetus Ocean, direct evidence for ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphism has never been found. We report the first discovery of coesite in the Appalachian orogen in a metapelite from the mid-Ordovician (Taconic orogeny) Tillotson Peak Complex in Vermont (USA). Relict coesite occurs within a bimineralic SiO2 inclusion in garnet. In situ elastic barometry and trace-element thermometry allow reconstruction of the garnet growth history during prograde metamorphism. The data are interpreted to indicate garnet nucleation and crystallization during blueschist- to eclogite-facies subduction zone metamorphism, followed by garnet rim growth at UHP conditions of >28 kbar and >530 °C. Results provide the first direct evidence that rocks of the Appalachian orogen underwent UHP metamorphism to depths of >75 km and warrant future studies that constrain the extent of UHP metamorphism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)949-951
Number of pages3
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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