Exotic terrane from central Georgia to central Virginia in the United States / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Carolina Terrane, also called the Carolina Superterrane or Carolinia, is an exotic terrane running ~370 miles (600 km) approximately North-South from central Georgia to central Virginia in the United States. It constitutes a major part of the eastern Piedmont Province.
The terrane likely formed as a subduction-related volcanic island arc off the coast of South America (then Gondwana) during the Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian (625–550 MYA). Plate tectonics moved it across the Iapetus Ocean until it docked with Laurentia (now the east coast of North America). The date of the docking is unknown, but could have occurred during the Taconic, Acadian, or Alleghanian Orogenies.
The terrane comprises Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian meta-sedimentary and meta-igneous rocks, intruded by later Paleozoic plutons. The protoliths of the meta-igneous rocks include mafic, intermediate, and felsic volcanics and plutons. These rocks underwent at least four metamorphic/deformation events, and so their original textures and mineralogies have been significantly altered.
As with related peri-Gondwanan terranes (e.g., Avalonia and Gander), the Carolina Terrane played a major role in the tectonic evolution of the east coast of North America during the Paleozoic. It represents the largest exotic terrane in the Appalachians, and underlies an enormous area of the southeastern United States.