P-T-t constraints on exhumation following subduction in the Rheic Ocean from eclogitic rocks in the Acatlán Complex of southern México Conference Paper uri icon


  • The Piaxtla Suite of the Acatlán Complex (southern México) has previously been considered a vestige of the Iapetus Ocean that underwent eclogite-facies metamorphism during Late Ordovician subduction and exhumation. Study of granitoid, mafic, and metasedimentary rocks of the Asis Lithodeme of the Piaxtla Suite reveals a complex tectonothermal history involving: (1) eclogite-facies syntectonic metamorphism preserved as aligned omphacite in mafic lenses dated at 346 ± 3 Ma (concordant U-Pb zircon age), which is inferred to result from subduction; (2) polyphase deformation involving WSWENE tectonic transport under amphibolite-facies conditions accompanied by migmatization due to decompression melting dated at ca. 347-330 Ma (SHRIMP [sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe] zircon ages); (3) continued deformation under greenschist facies; and (4) development of several phases of late folds and crenulation cleavage. Pressure, temperature, and time (P-T-t) data suggest rapid isothermal decompression from eclogite to upper amphibolite facies during the Visean (Middle Mississippian) followed by cooling. In the absence of age data for the latter stage, nearby unmetamorphosed latest Upper Devonian sedimentary rocks contain metamorphic, Piaxtla Suite clasts suggesting either diachronism in the exhumation process or synchronous exhumation and subsidence in adjacent areas. Such rapid exhumation of eclogites is typical of continent-continent collision zones, and the subhorizontal, WSW-ENE kinematics is compatible with either lateral thrust ramping or extension in the orogen. Devonian-Carboniferous subduction and exhumation are incompatible with an origin within the Iapetus Ocean, because that ocean had closed by Silurian times. However, they are consistent with oblique subduction of the leading edge of Gondwana along the southern flank of the Rheic Ocean during the amalgamation of Pangea. © 2007 Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Middleton, M., Keppie, J. D., Murphy, J. B., Miller, B. V., Nance, R. D., Ortega-Rivera, A., & Lee, J.

citation count

  • 28

publication date

  • January 2007