The recent discovery of ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) mineral parageneses in the far-transported (greater than 400 km) Seve Nappe Complex of the Swedish Caledonides sheds new light on the subduction system that dominated the contracting Baltoscandian margin of continental Baltica during the Ordovician and culminated in collision with Laurentia in the Silurian to Early Devonian. High-grade metamorphism of this Neoproterozoic to Cambrian rifted, extended, dike-intruded outer-margin assemblage started in the Early Ordovician and may have continued, perhaps episodically, until collision of the continents at the end of this period. The recent discovery of UHP kyanite eclogite in northern Jämtland (west-central Sweden) yields evidence of metamorphism at depths of 100 km. Although UHP rocks are only locally preserved from retrogression during the long-distance transport onto the Baltoscandian platform, these high-pressure parageneses indicate that deep subduction played an important role in the tectonothermal history of the complex. Based on existing isotopic age data, this UHP metamorphism occurred in the Late Ordovician, shortly before, or during, the initial collision between the continents (Scandian orogeny). In some central parts of the complex, migmatization and hot extrusion occurred in the Early Silurian, giving way to thrust emplacement across the Baltoscandian foreland basin and platform that continued into the Early Devonian. Identification of HP/UHP metamorphism at different levels within the Scandian allochthons, definition of their pressure-temperature-time paths, and recognition of their vast transport distances are essential for an understanding of the deeper structural levels of the orogen in the hinterland (e.g., the Western Gneiss Region), where the attenuated units were reworked together during the Early Devonian.
- Received 18 April 2012.
- Revision received 29 October 2012.
- Accepted 31 October 2012.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America