Geochronological record of Cadomian exterior orogen reworking in bi-modal igneous protoliths of the Cabo Ortegal Allochthon (NW Iberia): the Cambrian onset of the Palaeozoic plate-tectonic cycle
New geochemical data and radiometric ages of the protoliths of variably reworked metamafic (granulites and gabbros) and felsic rocks (orthogneisses) from the Cabo Ortegal allochthonous Complex are presented. Their igneous precursors were emplaced in ensialic environments and exhibit geochemical signatures transitional to tholeiitic character, probably originating in arc settings (with continental and oceanic components and minor crustal recycling). The new geochronological results (encompassing the Miaolingian and Furongian epochs of the Cambrian) link the aforementioned scenarios to a Cadomian magmatic arc. The 505Ma protoliths of calc-alkaline orthogneisses and mafic granulites would be the oldest in the sequence of intrusion events. The latter and the 498–486Ma protoliths of gabbros (emplaced in sedimentary host sequences later transformed into Variscan high-pressure and intermediate-pressure gneisses) can be considered as snapshots of the ongoing continental arc evolution. The 498–486Ma gabbro intrusives of these gneisses, together with the 505–503Ma orthogneisses, are ascribable to palaeo-geographically separate scenarios before the Variscan amalgamation of their country rocks. They would expand the initiation of rifting of the Gondwana continental margin to the Miaolingian Cambrian epoch. It is inferred that the Cadomian continental-arc (active at least since 750Ma) experienced in the 510–460Ma interval the consequences of a vanishing active subduction. Certain domains flanking the arc underwent forearc sedimentation and deformation, whereas others were affected by an increasing extension (rifting) and/or back-arc basin formation. The latter marked the initiation of the beginning of a Wilson Cycle, which ended in the late Palaeozoicwith the formation of the Variscan interior orogenic belt.