2004: Origin and evolution of the Escambray Massif (Central Cuba): an example of HP/LT rocks exhumed during intraoceanic subduction

Origin and evolution of the Escambray Massif (Central Cuba): an example of HP/LT rocks exhumed during intraoceanic subduction

Abstract

High-pressure (HP) metabasites from the Sancti Spiritus dome (Escambray massif, Central Cuba) have been studied in order to better understand the origin and evolution of the Northern Caribbean boundary plate during the Cretaceous, in a global subduction context. Geochemical and petrological studies of these eclogites reveal two groups with contrasting origins and pre-subduction metamorphic histories. Eclogites collected from exotic blocks within serpentinite (mélange zone) originated from a N-MORB type protolith, do not record pre-eclogitic metamorphic history. Conversely eclogites intercalated in Jurassic metasedimentary rocks (non-mélange zone) have a calc-alkaline arc-like origin and yield evidence for a pre-subduction metamorphic event in the amphibolite facies. However, all the studied Escambray eclogites underwent the same eclogitic peak (around 600 °C at 16 kbar), and followed a cold thermal gradient during their exhumation (estimated at around 13.5 °C km−1), which can suggest that this exhumation was coeval with subduction. Concordant geochronological data (Rb/Sr and Ar/Ar) support that the main exhumation of HP/LT rocks from the Sancti Spiritus dome occurred at 70 Ma by top to SW thrusting. The retrograde trajectory of these rocks suggests that the north-east subduction of the Farallon plate continued after 70 Ma. The set-off to the exhumation can be correlated with the beginning of the collision between the Bahamas platform and the Cretaceous island arc that induced a change of the subduction kinematics. The contrasting origin and ante-subduction history of the analysed samples imply that the Escambray massif consists of different geological units that evolved in different environments before their amalgamation during exhumation to form the present unit III of the massif.

Keywords: Cuba; exhumation; HP/LT rocks; Rb/Sr–Ar/Ar geochronology

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To Cite this article: Schneider, J., Bosch, D., Monié, P., Guillot, S., García-Casco, A., Lardeaux, J.M., Torres Roldan, R.L., Millán Trujillo, G. (2004): Origin and evolution of the Escambray Massif (Central Cuba): an example of HP/LT rocks exhumed during intraoceanic subduction. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 22, 227–247.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1314.2004.00510.x

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