The Penokean orogeny in the Lake Superior region

Precambrian Research
By:  and 



The Penokean orogeny began at about 1880 Ma when an oceanic arc, now the Pembine-Wausau terrane, collided with the southern margin of the Archean Superior craton marking the end of a period of south-directed subduction. The docking of the buoyant craton to the arc resulted in a subduction jump to the south and development of back-arc extension both in the initial arc and adjacent craton margin to the north. A belt of volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits formed in the extending back-arc rift within the arc. Synchronous extension and subsidence of the Superior craton resulted in a broad shallow sea characterized by volcanic grabens (Menominee Group in northern Michigan). The classic Lake Superior banded iron-formations, including those in the Marquette, Gogebic, Mesabi and Gunflint Iron Ranges, formed in that sea. The newly established subduction zone caused continued arc volcanism until about 1850 Ma when a fragment of Archean crust, now the basement of the Marshfield terrane, arrived at the subduction zone. The convergence of Archean blocks of the Superior and Marshfield cratons resulted in the major contractional phase of the Penokean orogeny. Rocks of the Pembine-Wausau arc were thrust northward onto the Superior craton causing subsidence of a foreland basin in which sedimentation began at about 1850 Ma in the south (Baraga Group rocks) and 1835 Ma in the north (Rove and Virginia Formations). A thick succession of arc-derived turbidites constitutes most of the foreland basin-fill along with lesser volcanic rocks. In the southern fold and thrust belt tectonic thickening resulted in high-grade metamorphism of the sediments by 1830 Ma. At this same time, a suite of post-tectonic plutons intruded the deformed sedimentary sequence and accreted arc terranes marking the end of the Penokean orogeny. The Penokean orogen was strongly overprinted by younger tectonic and thermal events, some of which were previously ascribed to the Penokean. Principal among these was a period of vertical faulting in the Archean basement and overlying Paleoproterozoic strata. This deformation is now known to have post-dated the terminal Penokean plutons by at least several tens of millions of years. Evidence of the Penokean orogen is now largely confined to the Lake Superior region. Comparisons with more recent orogens formed by similar plate tectonic processes implies that significant parts of a once more extensive Penokean orogen have been removed or overprinted by younger tectonic events. ?? 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The Penokean orogeny in the Lake Superior region
Series title Precambrian Research
DOI 10.1016/j.precamres.2007.02.022
Volume 157
Issue 1-4
Year Published 2007
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Precambrian Research
First page 4
Last page 25
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