The evolution of a Gondwanan collisional orogen: A structural and geochronological appraisal from the Southern Granulite Terrane, South India
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Gondwana amalgamated along a suite of Himalayan-scale collisional orogens, the roots of which lace the continents of Africa, South America, and Antarctica. The Southern Granulite Terrane of India is a generally well-exposed, exhumed, Gondwana-forming orogen that preserves a record of the tectonic evolution of the eastern margin of the East African Orogen during the Ediacaran-Cambrian (circa 600–500 Ma) as central Gondwana formed. The deformation associated with the closure of the Mozambique Ocean and collision of the Indian and East African/Madagascan cratonic domains is believed to have taken place along the southern margin of the Salem Block (the Palghat-Cauvery Shear System, PCSS) in the Southern Granulite Terrane. Investigation of the structural fabrics and the geochronology of the high-grade shear zones within the PCSS system shows that the Moyar-Salem-Attur shear zone to the north of the PCSS system is early Paleoproterozoic in age and associated with dextral strike-slip motion, while the Cauvery shear zone (CSZ) to the south of the PCSS system can be loosely constrained to circa 740–550 Ma and is associated with dip-slip dextral transpression and north side-up motion.To the south of the proposed suture zone (the Cauvery shear zone), the structural fabrics of the Northern Madurai Block suggest four deformational events (D1–D4), some of which are likely to be contemporaneous. The timing of high pressure-ultrahigh temperature metamorphism and deformation (D1–D3) in the Madurai Block (here interpreted as the southern extension of Azania) is constrained to circa 550–500 Ma and interpreted as representing collisional orogeny and subsequent orogenic collapse of the eastern margin of the East African Orogen. The disparity in the nature of the structural fabrics and the timing of the deformation in the Salem and the Madurai Blocks suggest that the two experienced distinct tectonothermal events prior to their amalgamation along the Cauvery shear zone during the Ediacaran/Cambrian.
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