Structural and geochronological studies of the Médio Coreaú Domain, NE Brazil: Constraints on Brasiliano/Pan-African tectonic evolution in the NW part of the Borborema Province

Ticiano J. S. dos Santos, Allen H. Fetter, Peter C. Hackspacher, William R. Van Schmus, and José de A. Nogueira Neto

Recent structural investigations and geochronological studies of rocks from the Médio Coreaú domain in the NW part of northeast Brazil’s Borborema Province provide important constraints on the tectonic evolution of the region both preceeding and during the assembly of West Gondwana. Field observations of structural features and fabrics have revealed the presence of four distinct deformational phases in the MCD: D1, D2, D3 and D4. Only the early Paleoproterozoic gneisses record the D1 tectonic event and its preservation is cryptic owing to strong overprinting by the subsequent tectonic phases. The D2, D3 and D4 events affected younger supracrustal rocks and Neoproterzoic magmatic units, and U-Pb geochronological constraints show that all of these tectonic phases represent deformational events that occurred during Brasiliano collision between the West African craton and the NW part of the Borborema Province. The D2 phase, lasting between ca. 622 and 591 Ma, represents a frontal collision stage, which generated NW verging thrust-nappe systems, low-angle foliation, high-grade metamorphism and crustal anatexis. Transition to a strike-slip regime (D3) occurred at around 591 Ma when the region entered a phase of "escape tectonics". During this time, the motion of crustal blocks towards NE and E was accommodated along numerous anastomosing shear zones. Syntectonic emplacement of granitoid plutons took place in transtensional domains of the shear zone system. The intrusion of late tectonic granitoids and rapid uplift and cooling of the orogen around 560 Ma as a result of D4 transpressional movements marked the end of the D3 transcurrent regime. These findings show that only the early Paleoproterozoic gneisses in the Médio Coreaú domain are polycyclic in nature. Rather than representing distinct orogenic events, the D2, D3 and D4 tectonic phases are a manifestation of progressive deformational events that developed in response to changes in the regional stress field during convergence and collision between the Borborema Province and its surrounding cratons.