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Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226

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Detrital zircon age patterns and provenance assessment for

pre-glacial to post-glacial successions of the Neoproterozoic
Macabas Group, Aracua orogen, Brazil
Matheus Kuchenbecker a,b, , Antnio Carlos Pedrosa-Soares a,1 , Marly Babinski c,1 ,
Mark Fanning d
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, IGC-CPMTC-Programa de Ps-Graduaco em Geologia, Av. Antnio Carlos 6627, CEP 31270-901 Belo Horizonte,
MG, Brazil
Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, BR-367, Km 583, Alto da Jacuba, CEP 39100-000 Diamantina, MG, Brazil
Centro de Pesquisas Geocronolgicas, Instituto de Geocincias, Universidade de So Paulo, Rua do Lago, 562, CEP 05508-080 So Paulo, SP, Brazil
The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The Neoproterozoic Macabas Group represents the precursor basin system of the AracuaWest Congo
Received 2 July 2014 orogen (SE Brazil SW Africa), located between the So Francisco and Congo cratons. The Macabas basin
Received in revised form 25 March 2015 evolved from continental rift settings to an inland-sea basin (a gulf) partially oored by oceanic crust and
Accepted 11 April 2015
connected to aulacogens. Its evolution was coeval with at least one of the major Neoproterozoic glacia-
Available online 22 April 2015
tions. In this paper, we present more than 450 new UPb ages on detrital zircon grains from four units of
the Macabas Group, covering glacial-related to post-glacial sedimentation stages. The results suggest
that the main sedimentary supplies of the Macabas basin should have come from secondary sources,
UPb geochronology
Sedimentary provenance
located in the So Francisco and Congo cratons. The pre-glacial units of the Macabas Group are the only
Macabas Group ones that show important contribution from 1100 to 1200 Ma sources, and lack Archaean zircons, which
AracuaWest Congo orogen are common in younger rocks of the group. These features indicate an important change in the source
So Francisco-Congo palaeocontinent areas, coherent with the climate change to glacial conditions and with a regional unconformity previously
mapped. Sources between 15001600 Ma are more signicant in the continental rift stages, decreasing in
the passive margin stage. This suggests changes driven by the end of a glaciation and/or the breakup of the
continental lithosphere. Tonian zircons occur throughout all the basin stages, and signicantly increase
in the late rift and passive margin successions, recording the most abundant rift-related magmatism yet
found in the AracuaWest Congo orogen. Detrital zircon grains as young as 750 Ma reveal contributions
from Cryogenian sources to passive margin successions, suggesting sedimentary supplies from the South
Bahia Alkaline Province and/or Rio Negro magmatic arc, in Brazil, and/or from rocks found in Africa (e.g.,
La Louila volcanic rocks). The long lasting evolution of the Macabas basin (c. 930 Ma to c. 600 Ma) would
have involved more than one continental rifting event before the onset of an ocean-oor spreading phase
around 660 Ma.
2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction especially for deformed and metamorphosed deposits that lack

spatial continuity in the eld (Erikson et al., 2001). Unraveling
Reconstructing the depositional history of Precambrian sed- the tectonic context and timing of such basins is often difcult,
imentary basins poor in volcanic rocks is a challenging task, and explaining their subsidence mechanisms and lling evolution
may be even more complicated. Zircon is an attractive prove-
nance proxy owing to its durability and remarkable chemical
stability over a wide range of pressures and temperatures (Fedo
Corresponding author. Tel.: +55 31 3409 4441; fax: +55 31 3409 4441. et al., 2003). Currently, UPb dating on detrital zircon grains pro-
E-mail addresses: (M. Kuchenbecker), vides one of the most powerful tools for basin analysis, since (A.C. Pedrosa-Soares), (M. Babinski),
the age spectra of sedimentary deposits may reect the tectonic (M. Fanning).
Research fellow of the Brazilian Scientic Council (CNPq). setting of the basin, providing important hints for tectonic and
0301-9268/ 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226 13

palaeogeographic interpretations (e.g., Cawood et al., 2012). At the huge amount of peraluminous granites, lasted from c. 580 Ma to c.
same time, zircon durability in sedimentary cycles can make inter- 545 Ma (Gradim et al., 2014; Peixoto et al., 2015). During the post-
pretation difcult, as multi-cycle sedimentation may be masked collisional stage (c. 530490 Ma), the Aracua orogen underwent
(Thomas, 2011). Therefore, to fully characterize all sedimentary gravitational collapse associated with an important late orogenic
provenance components, it is essential to have a well-established plutonism (Marshak et al., 2006; Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2011b).
regional setting, allowing for the recognition of potential sources
in time and space for a given sedimentary deposit.
The Macabas Group represents the precursor basin system of 3. Regional geology
the Aracua orogen (Fig. 1), recording continental rift to oceanic
settings, as well as at least one glacial event in the Neoproterozoic This topic presents a synthesis on eld studies and analytical
(Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2011a; Babinski et al., 2012). The Macabas data reported by Pedrosa-Soares et al. (2011a), updated by more
basin presents remarkable features, which makes it an excel- recent publications and results from our own studies. As Pedrosa-
lent target for sedimentary provenance studies. First of all, the Soares et al. (2011a) already quoted a great number of references on
Macabas basin evolved from continental rifting to ocean-oor previous geological mapping projects, thesis and other studies on
spreading in a singular conned setting, because almost completely the Macabas Group, we only refer to papers containing UPb data.
surrounded by the So Francisco-Congo palaeocontinent (Pedrosa- Although the Macabas Group rocks underwent regional metamor-
Soares et al., 2001, 2008; Alkmim et al., 2006). In this scenario, phism from the greenschist to the amphibolite facies, we mainly
sedimentary supply could be extremely complex, since there would refer to their protoliths in the forthcoming descriptions.
be multiple potential source areas relatively close to basin mar- The Macabas Group represents an extensive and up to 10 km
gins (Fig. 1). Furthermore, at least one of the major Neoproterozoic thick sedimentary pile cropping out mostly in the northern sector of
glacial events took place during the Macabas basin evolution, the Aracua orogen (Fig. 2). The group can be subdivided into three
making it important to evaluate sedimentary record changes driven major successions: (i) the pre-glacial succession, comprising the
by glacial-related processes. Mato, Duas Barras and Rio Peixe Bravo formations; (ii) the glacial-
In this paper, we present more than 450 new UPb ages on related succession, including the diamictite-rich packages of the
detrital zircon grains from four metasedimentary units of the Serra do Catuni, Nova Aurora and Lower Chapada Acau formations;
Macabas Group, covering glacial-related to post-glacial sedimen- and (iii) the post-glacial succession, composed of the diamictite-
tation stages, together with a thorough compilation of about 400 free Upper Chapada Acau and Ribeiro da Folha formations. The
detrital zircon ages available in the literature from the whole group. pre-glacial and glacial-related successions show evidence of conti-
This robust UPb geochronological dataset allowed us to present nental rifting processes, while the post-glacial succession records
a detailed evaluation of many potential primary and secondary the evolution to a passive margin stage.
sedimentary sources, and to discuss the sedimentary and tectonic The up to 200-m thick Mato Formation comprises breccia, con-
evolution of the precursor basin system of the Aracua orogen. glomerate and sandstone deposited in a rift transgressive setting,
recording uvial to shallow marine environments. The youngest
detrital zircon grains dated at c. 1160 Ma dene a maximum depo-
2. Tectonic setting sitional age for this formation (Martins et al., 2008).
The Duas Barras Formation consists of quartzite, conglomeratic
The Neoproterozoic Macabas Group records the precursor quartzite and rare conglomerate, with variable contents of mica,
basin system of the Aracua orogen, located to the east of the feldspar, iron oxide and lithic fragments. The maximum thickness
So Francisco Craton in southeastern Brazil (Pedrosa-Soares et al., is approximately 100 m, and the sedimentary structures suggest
2011a). This orogen, together with its counterpart located in Africa, uvial to shallow marine environments. Detrital zircon ages set
the West Congo belt (Fig. 1), evolved from a conned basin system a maximum depositional age for the Duas Barras Formation at
almost completely surrounded by the So Francisco-Congo palaeo- 900 21 Ma (Babinski et al., 2012).
continent (Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2001; Alkmim et al., 2006). The Rio Peixe Bravo Formation is an up to 700 m thick sequence
The basin evolution began as a Tonian rifting event that resulted of micaceous, ferruginous and/or feldspathic sandstone, pelite and
in the opening of the Macabas basin around 900 Ma (Silva rare clast-supported conglomerate. Its detrital zircon age spec-
et al., 2008; Babinski et al., 2012). The last evolution stage of the trum records an outstanding contribution from Rhyacian sources
Macabas basin resulted in an inland-sea basin partially oored by (Babinski et al., 2012), probably located in the neighboring Porteir-
oceanic crust, a gulf-like embayment shaped in the So Francisco- inha basement block (Fig. 2).
Congo palaecontinent (Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2001, 2008). Zircon The Serra do Catuni Formation, the oldest diamictitic unit of
UPb ages from ophiolitic plagiogranites and gabbros constrain the the Macabas Group, is a very extensive package of massive
oceanic spreading phase from c. 660 Ma to c. 600 Ma (Queiroga et al., diamictite with minor sandstone and pelite intercalations. Glacial
2007; Queiroga, 2010). Indeed, this long-lasting basin history (c. features include chaotic boulders and faceted/striated at-iron-
300 Ma) in such a particular setting (a gulf) put several intriguing shaped clasts. The youngest detrital zircon grains constrain the
questions (e.g., How many rifting events took place before ocean maximum depositional age at 933 8 Ma (Babinski et al., 2012).
spreading? Was it a long-lived stagnant basin?); some of them we To the east of the Porteirinha basement block (Fig. 2), the Nova
try to access here. Aurora Formation overlies the pre-glacial Rio Peixe Bravo For-
By the beginning of the Ediacaran Period, the Rio Doce magmatic mation and represents a distal correlative of the Serra do Catuni
arc marked the onset of a subduction-related convergent stage Formation. It comprises diamictite, minor graded sandstone, and
in the Macabas basin, which lasted from c. 630 Ma to c. 580 Ma rare pelite, as well as thick layers of diamictitic iron formation that
(Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2011b; Goncalves et al., 2014). represent an important mineral resource (Vilela et al., 2014).
The tectonic mechanism for basin closure seems to be rather In the central sector of the Macabas Group, between the
complex, and probably involved a series of collisions (e.g., Parana- Porteirinha and Guanhes basement blocks, the Serra do Catuni
panema, Amazonia and Kalahari palaeocontinents) against the Formation gradually passes to the diamictite-bearing lower unit
external margins of the So Francisco-Congo palaeocontinent of the Chapada Acau Formation. This lower unit mostly consists
(Alkmim et al., 2006). The collisional stage, recorded by regional of stratied diamictite, graded sandstone and pelite, composing a
deformation and metamorphism, as well as the production of a cyclic succession of debris ows and sand-pelite turbidites. The
14 M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226

Fig. 1. (A) Geotectonic setting for the Aracua orogen and the West Congo Belt. Note the locations of the maps presented in (B) and Fig. 2. Simplied geological map of the
Aracua orogen (modied from Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2011a); (CE). Tectonic evolution schemes of the Macabas basin (modied from Alkmim et al., 2006).
M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226 15

Fig. 2. Geological sketch map showing the distribution of the formations of the Macabas Group in the western Aracua orogen (modied from Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2007,
2011a). Numbered black dots indicate sample location.

lower unit of the Chapada Acau Formation also includes mac environment during the passive margin stage of the Macabas
volcanic rocks, now metamorphosed to greenschist facies, with basin. Detrital zircon grains from a quartzite of the Upper Cha-
pillow structures and other features of subaquatic ows. Their pada Acau Formation yielded the rst UPb SHRIMP data for the
lithochemical and isotopic attributes, together with a great amount Macabas Group, suggesting a maximum depositional age around
of inherited zircons from Archaean to Stenian sources, suggest tran- 864 30 Ma (Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2000).
sitional mac magmas passing through a thinned continental crust To the east, the Upper Chapada Acau Formation passes to the
in a late rift stage of the Macabas basin (Babinski et al., 2005, Ribeiro da Folha Formation, which includes distal passive mar-
2012). To the top, the Lower Chapada Acau Formation gradu- gin and ocean oor deposits. This formation, the most distal unit
ally passes to the diamictite-free Upper Chapada Acau Formation. of Macabas Group, includes ne-grained turbidites with interca-
This upper unit comprises a succession of interbedded sandstone lations of chemical sediments (chert, banded iron formations, and
and pelite, representing a post-glacial unit deposited in a shelf rare limestone). The youngest detrital zircon population from the
16 M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226

Fig. 3. Cathodoluminescence images of representative detrital zircon crystals from the analyzed samples of the Macabas Group. Images of AR-1 sample are backscattered
electron images.

Ribeiro da Folha Formation includes a few grains as young as c. quartzite, graphite gneiss and calc-silicate rocks located in the
745 Ma, although the modal mean age value suggests a maximum northeastern region of the Aracua orogen. It lacks diamictites and
depositional age around 806 Ma (Peixoto et al., 2015). shows detrital zircon age spectra very similar to the typical pattern
Thrust slices of metamac and meta-ultramac rocks with shown by the Macabas rocks, with youngest zircon grains around
ocean-oor lithochemical and isotopic signatures constitute tec- 900 Ma (Goncalves-Dias et al., 2011).
tonically dismembered ophiolite complexes associated with the Several magmatic episodes, all of them dated by UPb anal-
Ribeiro da Folha Formation (Pedrosa-Soares et al., 1992, 1998). ysis on zircon and/or baddeleyite, provide evidence for distinct
Zircon crystals from a plagiogranite sample of the Ribeiro da continental rifting events related to the Macabas basin evolution
Folha ophiolite yielded a magmatic crystallization UPb age around (Pedrosa-Soares and Alkmim, 2011). Records from a rst continen-
660 Ma (Queiroga et al., 2007). This age together with the UPb zir- tal rifting event, Tonian in age (c. 930870 Ma), are the Pedro Lessa
con data from the youngest ophiolite slivers found in the Aracua mac dikes (Machado et al., 1989; Dussin and Chemale, 2012), the
orogen (c. 600 Ma, Queiroga, 2010) suggest oceanic spreading at Salto da Divisa A-type granites (Silva et al., 2008; Menezes et al.,
least from c. 660 Ma to c. 600 Ma in the Macabas basin. 2012) and the Pedra Preta Amphibolite (Gradim, 2012), located
A very probable correlative of the post-glacial Macabas Group in the Aracua orogen, as well as the bimodal volcanic rocks of
is the Jequitinhonha Complex, a succession of Al-rich paragneiss, the Zadinian-Mayumbian succession and associated granites of the
M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226 17

West Congo belt (Tack et al., 2001; Thiblemont et al., 2011). Evi- 5. Results
dence for a Cryogenian (c. 750670 Ma) rifting event includes the
anorogenic magmatic rocks of the South Bahia Alkaline Province 5.1. Metadiamictite, Serra do Catuni Formation (sample SC-1)
(Rosa et al., 2007), as well as the mac volcanism associated with
the Lower Diamictite Formation, dated at 694 4 Ma (Straathof, The sample SC-1 was collected from a massive metadiamic-
2011), and the La Louila volcanism (Thiblemont et al., 2011). This tite exposure along a road cut of the BR-251 highway (UTM
last continental rift event seems to have continuously evolved to 667775/8178509), located on the western slope of the Catuni ridge,
ocean opening, as the oldest zircon age obtained from an ophiolitic which represents the thrust front limiting the Aracua orogen and
plagiogranite suggests oceanic spreading onset around 660 Ma So Francisco craton (Fig. 2). This sample represents the strongly
(Queiroga et al., 2007). deformed metadiamictite, metamorphosed in the chlorite zone of
the greenschist facies, found along the Serra do Catuni thrusting
4. Materials and methods The detrital zircon grains separated from this metadiamic-
tite are rounded to subhedral, measuring 40240 m in length.
We selected six samples of clastic metasedimentary rocks Their CL images mostly show oscillatory zoning. Few grains
from four units of the Macabas Group, representing the glacial display inherited cores and homogeneous internal structure
(Serra do Catuni, Nova Aurora and Lower Chapada Acau for- (Fig. 3).
mations) and post-glacial (Upper Chapada Acau Formation) Seventy-seven spots on the same number of zircon grains
successions, with the aim to better constrain the sedimentation yielded UPb ages ranging from c. 1220 Ma to c. 3250 Ma (Fig. 4).
timing throughout the Macabas basin and track their sediment Most of them falls in the 19002200 Ma interval (56%; Fig. 4), sug-
sources, together with the compiled data sets from previous gesting the prevalence of Rhyacian-Orosirian primary sources. The
works. youngest zircon grains (1227 14 Ma) do not constrain the max-
Zircon concentrates were extracted from rock samples by imum depositional age of the Serra do Catuni Formation, since
using conventional gravimetric and magnetic (Frantz isodynamic younger zircons (c. 933 Ma) have been reported for this same unit
separator) techniques at the Geochronological Research Center, (Babinski et al., 2012).
University of So Paulo. Final separation was achieved by hand pick-
ing, to exclude eventual grains of other minerals, such as apatite. 5.2. Metadiamictite, Nova Aurora Formation (sample NA-1)
Zircon grains were mounted in epoxy disks and polished to expose
their centers. Morphological features and internal structures of zir- This sample was collected from the layered metadiamicite
con grains were revealed by electron backscattered electron (BSE) with graded quartzite intercalations typical of the Nova Aurora
and cathodoluminescence (CL) images (Fig. 3). Formation, found in a road cut of the BR-251 highway (UTM
The UPb analyses were carried out on the Sensitive High Reso- 767720/8200868) at the Vacaria River valley (Fig. 2). The sampled
lution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP II) of Australian National University rock is a quite strongly deformed metadiamictite, with a garnet-
(Samples MG-08-10, MG-08-12) and on a NEPTUNE ICP-MS cou- bearing-biotite-rich matrix indicating metamorphism in the upper
pled to an Excimer ArF ( = 193 nm) Laser Ablation System at the greenshist facies.
Geochronological Research Center, University of So Paulo (Sam- Sixty-one zircon grains, ranging from 60 to 270 m in
ples AR-1, SC-1, NA-1, CAS-1). length, were recovered from the sample NA-1 (Fig. 3). They
SHRIMP analysis followed the procedures described by William are mostly rounded to minor subhedral, indicating long dis-
(1998). Five scans through the mass stations were made for each tance transport. Most of them show oscillatory zoning in CL
age determination. U abundance was calibrated using the stan- images, while only a few grains exhibit homogeneous internal
dard SL13 (U = 238 ppm, William (1998)) and 206 Pb/238 U ratio was structure.
calibrated using the standard Temora (Black et al., 2003). Mea- The UPb ages from this sample range from c. 940 Ma to c.
sured 204 Pb was applied for the common lead correction, and data 3190 Ma, and cluster in the 19002200 Ma (39%), 9001100 Ma
processing was carried out using the Squid and Isoplot programs (20%) and 26002700 Ma (10%) intervals (Fig. 4). The youngest zir-
(Ludwig, 2001). The youngest outer zone of each grain was prefer- con age at 939 18 Ma is in good agreement with the youngest
ably chosen to analyze, with the support of the CL and BSE images. ages of zircon grains from other units of the pre-glacial and glacial
UPb analysis carried out on the NEPTUNE LA-MC ICP-MS Macabas Group.
followed the order: two blanks, two NIST glasses, three exter-
nal standards, 13 unknown samples, two external standards, and 5.3. Metadiamictite, Lower Chapada Acau Formation (sample
two blanks. Each run consisted of 40 cycles with 1 s/cycle. The AR-1)
204 Hg interference on 204 Pb was corrected by using 202 Hg, where
204 Hg/202 Hg = 4.2. Both NIST and the external standards utilized
This sample was collected from the most common metadi-
the 207 Pb/206 Pb ratio for their normalization procedures, whereas amictite of the stratied debris ow to turbidite package typical
the 206 Pb/238 U ratio was used for normalization by the external of the Lower Chapada Acau Formation (Mato Grosso Member),
standard. Accuracy and precision were monitored by analyses of found on the Aracua River shore (UTM 790242/8067975) near the
zircon standards GJ (602 4.4 Ma; Elhlou et al., 2006) and Temora Vargem Funda bridge, NNW of Turmalina city (Fig. 2). This meta-
2 (416.8 1 Ma; Black et al., 2003). For the operating conditions diamictite is strongly deformed, showing a prominent stretching
and instrument settings see Sato et al. (2010). The reported uncer- lineation marked by many elongated clasts and oriented matrix
tainties were propagated by quadratic addition of the external minerals. Garnet-mica-rich intercalations record metamorphism in
reproducibility (Standard Deviation) obtained from the standard the upper greenschist facies.
zircons GJ and Temora 2. Most of the grains recovered from sample AR-1 are well-
The histograms were obtained with the software Isoplot/Ex rounded, ranging from 50 to 300 m in length, and shows
(Ludwig, 2001) and only ages with concordance degree >89% were oscillatory zoning. Seventy-eight analytical spots reveal six zircon
considered. UPb ages older than 800 Ma are all mentioned as populations, given by statistical age peaks around 1139 10 Ma
207 Pb/206 Pb ages. Younger ones are 238 U/206 Pb ages, unless referred
(3%), 1495 6 Ma (8%), 1904 6 Ma (10%), 2115 3 Ma (68%),
otherwise. 2552 11 Ma (4%), and 2728 8 Ma (7%). Again, it is clear the great
18 M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226

Fig. 4. Frequency histogram and probability curves of zircon ages for the analyzed samples of the Macabas Group. Only ages more than 89% concordant were plotted.

importance of Rhyacian-Orosirian sources (78% of the total zir- 5.4. Metadiamictite, Lower Chapada Acau Formation (sample
con population). The youngest zircon grain (1138 23 Ma) shows MG-08-10)
an age similar to the youngest zircon grains inherited by the
metavolcanic rocks of the Rio Preto Member, Lower Chapada Acau This sample was collected from a light-colored metadiamicite
Formation (Babinski et al., 2005, 2012). rich in carbonate clasts supported by abundant sandstone matrix,
M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226 19

found on the Itamarandiba River shore (UTM 733551/8083397) Chapada Acau Formation (CAS-1 and MG-08-12), as well as for
near a bridge of the gravel road from BR-367 (MG-308) to Carbonita most samples of the Macabas Group.
town, southwest of Turmalina city (Fig. 2). The metadiamictite was
deformed and metamorphosed under conditions of the greenschist
6. Discussion and conclusions
facies garnet zone.
The zircon grains are usually rounded, with a few elongated
We discuss the sedimentary provenance and timing of the
grains. Their sizes vary from 60 to 250 m in length. The most com-
Macabas basin lling in the light of our data, together with
mon CL features are oscillatory zoning and homogeneous internal
a thorough compilation of zircon UPb data from the litera-
structure (Fig. 3).
ture, including all available UPb data from the Macabas Group
Seventy one grains yielded UPb ages between c. 870 Ma and
(Figs. 5 and 6).
c. 3660 Ma, and the more concordant ones cluster in a prominent
Until now, the available UPb (LA-ICP-MS and SHRIMP) dataset
peak around 20002200 Ma (53% of the population), which likely
for the Macabas Group and correlates was limited to about 400
represents the age of the dominant source of the sediments (Fig. 4).
ages on detrital zircon grains (Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2000; Babinski
The youngest concordant zircon age is 953 18 Ma (206 Pb/238 U).
et al., 2005, 2012; Martins et al., 2008; Chemale et al., 2012; Peixoto
et al., 2015). In this paper, we present more than 450 UPb ages,
nearly doubling the available geochronological information about
5.5. Metasandstone, Upper Chapada Acau Formation (sample
the group. For some of the units, such as the Nova Aurora Formation,
no previous data were available, and for others, such as the Lower
and Upper Chapada Acau formations, the number of dated zircons
The sample MG-08-12 was collected from the sandstone-
was low. The substantial increase in the amount of data permits
pelite succession that overlies the diamictite-bearing package from
a more accurate and reliable interpretation of sedimentary prove-
which samples MG-08-10 and AR-1 were taken, thus represent-
nance and age constraints of the units. In fact, taking into account
ing the glacial and post-glacial units included in the Chapada
statistical approaches (e.g. Fedo et al., 2003), a minimum number
Acau Formation, respectively. The outcrop is a creek bed (UTM
of zircons (60 grains) were now reached for all the units (Fig. 5). It
737227/8115309) located near the Posses village, Leme do Prado
might be considered that the loss of information from small grains
municipality, between the Jequitinhonha River and BR-367 high-
and the preference for larger crystals during handpicking could be
way (Fig. 2). It is a quartz-rich biotite-bearing metasandstone, and
even more important than the number of dated zircons for the
the associated metapelite intercalations reveal metamorphism in
reproducibility of zircon age spectra (Slama and Kosler, 2012). We
the staurolite-kyanite zone of the amphibolite facies.
tried to avoid these biases by randomly choosing the grains during
The zircon grains separated from this sample are usually
both the sample preparation and dating procedures.
well-rounded, 55220 m long, with oscillatory zoning in CL
images (Fig. 3). Seventy-two grains yielded UPb ages from
900 Ma to 3310 Ma. The frequency diagram (Fig. 4) shows three 6.1. Provenance assessment
main age peaks at 9001100 Ma (22%), 20002100 Ma (21%), and
26002800 Ma (22%). The youngest age (903 11 Ma, 206 Pb/238 U Taking into account the Macabas Group as a whole (Fig. 5),
age) and the zircon age spectrum are in good agreement with the the presence of three main age peaks at 19002200 Ma (40% of the
pattern shown by samples from the pre-glacial and glacial succes- total zircon population), 9001000 Ma (14%), and 26002800 Ma
sions of the Macabas Group. (7%) is remarkable. Potential primary sources that may be related to
these peaks are, respectively (Fig. 6): (i) magmatic and high-grade
metamorphic rocks from Rhyacian-Orosirian complexes, such as
5.6. Metasandstone, Upper Chapada Acau Formation (sample those found in the Mineiro-Mantiqueira-Juiz de Fora-Pocrane and
CAS-1) Itabuna-Salvador-Curac orogenic systems (Teixeira et al., 2000;
Noce et al., 2007a,b; Novo, 2013), and the Eburnean and Kimezian
The sample CAS-1 was collected from the diamictite-free basement complexes in the Congo Craton (Maurin et al., 1990; Vicat
sandstone-pelite package of the Upper Chapada Acau Formation and Pouclet, 2000), (ii) the Tonian rift magmatism represented by
that covers the glaciogenic Nova Aurora Formation to the west of the thick bimodal volcanic pile of the Zadinian-Mayumbian suc-
outcrop NA-1 (Fig. 2). It is a mica-bearing metasandstone cropping cession and associated anorogenic granites of the West Congo belt
out in a road cut of the BR-251 highway (UTM 758859/8200267), (Tack et al., 2001; Thiblemont et al., 2011), and by the Pedro Lessa
aside a gas station. The associated metapelite intercalations record (Machado et al., 1989; Dussin and Chemale, 2012) and Salto da
metamorphism in the garnet zone of the upper greenschist facies. Divisa (Silva et al., 2008; Menezes et al., 2012) suites, as well as bod-
Seventy-seven zircon grains from the CAS-1 metasandstone ies like the Pedra Preta Amphibolite (Gradim, 2012) of the Aracua
were analyzed. The grains are normally 50280 m long, well- Orogen; and (iii) the Archaean cratonic nuclei, with several occur-
rounded, showing oscillatory zoning in CL images (Fig. 3). Rare rences within the So Francisco and Congo Cratons (Teixeira et al.,
grains show homogeneous internal structure and thin metamor- 2000; Barbosa and Sabat, 2004; Noce et al., 2007a; Begg et al.,
phic overgrowth rims with width not suitable for spot analysis 2009).
(<15 m). Although there are many reliable primary sources to have fed
The zircon UPb ages range between c. 750 Ma and c. 3380 Ma the Macabas basin, the observed age spectra probably result from
(Fig. 4), clustering in three main peaks: 9001100 Ma (58%), the contribution of both primary and secondary sources. There
20002100 Ma (7%), and 26002700 Ma (16%). The concordant and are several sedimentary units within the cratonic and orogenic
very similar values given by two zircon grains (758 7 Ma and domains that might be considered as potential sediment sources for
743 7 Ma) suggest a maximum depositional age for the Upper the Macabas basin (Fig. 6). A very important one is the Espinhaco
Chapada Acau Formation at c. 750 Ma. This maximum depositional Supergroup and its correlatives that form an extensive Statherian
age agrees with the youngest ages given by detrital zircons from to Stenian rift-sag system in the So Francisco domain of the So
samples of the post-glacial Ribeiro da Folha Formation (Peixoto Francisco-Congo palaeocontinent (Danderfer et al., 2009; Chemale
et al., 2015). Despite some distinct proportions, the age spectra et al., 2012; Dussin and Chemale, 2012). The Espinhaco Supergroup
are similar for both samples collected from the post-glacial Upper contains a plethora of detrital zircon grains with an age span from
20 M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226

Fig. 5. Frequency histogram and probability curves of all the available UPb ages in detrital zircons from the Macabas Group. (1) This paper; (2) Babinski et al. (2012); (3)
Chemale et al. (2012); (4) Martins et al. (2008); (5) Babinski et al. (2005); (6) Pedrosa-Soares et al. (2000); (7) Peixoto et al. (2015); (8) Goncalves-Dias et al. (2011).

c. 1100 Ma to c. 3600 Ma (Chemale et al., 2012; Lopes, 2012; Chaves The Costa Sena Group represents a Palaeoproterozoic basin that
et al., 2013a,b; Kuchenbecker, 2014). In the southern So Francisco occurs in the southern portion of the Espinhaco Ridge, and shows
Craton, the Caranda and So Joo del Rei basins show similar age detrital zircon UPb ages between 2000 Ma and 3047 Ma (Chemale
spectra, and have been considered as chrono-correlatives of the et al., 2012; Dussin and Chemale, 2012). Probable correlatives of the
Espinhaco Supergroup (Ribeiro et al., 2013). Costa Sena Group are the Riacho dos Machados Group and Limoeiro
M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226 21

Fig. 6. Provenance sketch illustrating the time span (for primary sources) and detrital zircon ages range (for secondary sources) of possible sources for the Macabas Group
rocks. The gray intervals mark the main age peaks of detrital zircons from the undivided Macabas Group. The gray dotted line marks the age of the youngest zircon from
the unit.

Complex, which occurs along the Porteirinha basement block, in the Hanson et al., 1988; Ring et al., 1999; Fernandez-Alonso et al., 2012)
northern Espinhaco Ridge (Knauer et al., 2007). and the Namaqua-Natal province (Evans et al., 2007; Pettersson
In the Iron Quadrangle domain, to the south, there are at least et al., 2007). Detrital zircon ages of 11001300 Ma are also found
three important primary to secondary sources, namely: (i) the Rio in the Espinhaco Supergroup (Chemale et al., 2012; Lopes, 2012;
das Velhas Supergroup, an Archaean greenstone belt, with zircon Santos et al., 2013; Chaves et al., 2013a,b). However, even in these
ages ranging between 2710 Ma and 3800 Ma (Machado et al., 1996; pre-Neoproterozoic units, the Ectasian-Stenian zircon grains also
Noce et al., 2005; Hartmann et al., 2006); (ii) the Minas Super- represent a minor contribution so that they are not a reliable
group which zircon ages ranging from 2250 Ma to 3650 Ma (Renger major source for the coeval Macabas zircon population. There-
et al., 1994; Machado et al., 1996; Hartmann et al., 2006; Mendes fore, we should consider a more complex scenario to explain the
et al., 2014); and (iii) the Itacolomi Group, a sedimentary succession common presence of Ectasian-Stenian zircons in the Macabas
with detrital zircon grains dated between 2180 Ma and 3240 Ma rocks. We envisage a complex and extensive uvial system drain-
(Machado et al., 1996; Hartmann et al., 2006). In the northern So ing the So Francisco-Congo palaeocontinent and owing into the
Francisco Craton, the Contendas-Mirante supracrustal succession main grabens formed during the Macabas rift stages. Such a sys-
shows zircon ages ranging from c. 1900 Ma to c. 2700 Ma (Nutman tem could bring sediments from the Karagwe-Ankole belt and
et al., 1994). Namaqua-Natal province to feed the Macabas basin. Additionally,
Within the Congo Craton, a potential secondary source is the the Espinhaco Supergroup could represent a more proximal source,
Palaeoproterozoic Francevillian basin (Thiblemont et al., 2009), since its rocks were certainly exposed in horsts and shoulders of
which represents a foreland basin related to the West Central the Macabas rifts. Moreover, detrital zircon ages of 12001300 Ma
African belt (Feybesse et al., 1998). are also found in sedimentary units of the Braslia belt, such as the
A peak around 19002200 Ma represents the most promi- Andrelndia (Valeriano et al., 2004; Valladares et al., 2004), Vazante
nent zircon age cluster occurring in all evolutionary stages of (Rodrigues et al., 2012), Canastra and Ibi groups (Rodrigues et al.,
the Macabas basin. This period encompasses the most important 2010; Dias et al., 2011), and in the Canabravinha Formation of the
orogenic events that resulted in the assembly of the So Francisco- Rio Preto belt (Caxito et al., 2014). In addition, the presence of Meso-
Congo palaeocontinent, recorded in orogenic belts located within proterozoic zircons in sedimentary rocks on both sides of the So
the So Francisco (Mineiro-Mantiqueira-Juiz de Fora-Pocrane and Francisco Craton suggests sources hidden by Neoproterozoic and
Itabuna-Salvador-Curac orogenic belts) and Congo (Gabon belt) Phanerozoic covers within this craton, as previously suggested by
cratons. A great number of zircon grains with such ages are Babinski et al. (2012).
also found in the Espinhaco Supergroup, Costa Sena Group and In the Cryogenian rift to passive margin stages, an important
Contendas-Mirante sedimentary sequence, which might have contribution of 26002800 Ma sources take place, although they
acted as secondary sources. are virtually absent in deposits of the Tonian rift stage (Fig. 5). This
When analyzed separately, the three evolutionary stages of the absence represents an important change of source areas, which
Macabas basin show some remarkable differences. The Tonian could be related to distinct factors. One of them is the regional
rift stage shows an important contribution from Mesoproterozoic unconformity beneath the glacial succession of the Macabas
sources, with an age peak of 11001300 Ma. However, Ectasian- Group (Karfunkel and Hoppe, 1988; Uhlein et al., 1998, 1999;
Stenian (14001000 Ma) magmatic rocks, which could represent Martins-Neto et al., 2001), related to the Cryogenian rift stage that
the primary sources, are quite scarce within the So Francisco- separates it from the pre-glacial succession deposited in the Tonian
Congo craton. Their most expressive occurrences are the A-type rift. Therefore, this regional unconformity would represent a long
magmatism of the Karagwe-Ankole belt (Tack et al., 1994, 2010; lasting hiatus, which is coherent with the important provenance
22 M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226

Fig. 7. Stratigraphic correlation sketch for the Aracua orogen and West Congo belt (modied from Babinski et al., 2012 and Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2008). (1) rift-related felsic
volcanic rocks; (2) rudites; (3) sandstones; (4) pelites; (5) diamictites; (6) mac volcanic rocks with pillow structure and transitional geochemical signature; (7) carbonate
rocks; (8) outsized clasts (dropstones); (9) mac dykes; (10) anorogenic granites; (11) volcanic rocks. See text for age references.

changes. Furthermore, the Cryogenian rift stage is marked by a The decrease of the Calymmian sources in the passive mar-
climatic change to glacial conditions. Such an important event gin deposits could be related to the end of the glaciation. As the
certainly implies in severe changes in the palaeogeomorphologic beginning of the passive margin stage corresponds to the late
scenario, which can deeply modify the erosion and sediment trans- deglaciation stage, changes in the source areas could be driven by
port systems, and consequently the provenance pattern. Finally, ice melt (ooding of source areas, changes in the drainage network)
it should be considered that Archaean primary sources could be and/or by the breakup of the continental lithosphere (with signif-
mostly covered during the Tonian rifting stage. In fact, seismic sec- icant uplift of former rift shoulders) associated with the onset of
tions cutting across the So Francisco Craton reveal sedimentary ocean spreading.
sequences older than the Neoproterozoic Bambu Group covering a The 9001000 Ma zircons appear in age spectra since the Tonian
large area of the craton basement (Coelho et al., 2008). In this case, rift stage, but become important in the Cryogenian rift to passive
the Archaean primary sources could have been exhumed by glacial margin stages (Fig. 5). Tonian primary sources are more abundant
erosion associated with block uplifting in the Cryogenian rift stage. in the West Congo belt than in the Aracua orogen, owing to the
The contribution of Calymmian (14001600 Ma) sources is more thick volcanic piles of the Zadinian and Mayumbian groups (c.
signicant during the rift stages, and becomes less so during the 930910 Ma), the Mativa and Bata Kimenga (c. 920 Ma), and Noqui
passive margin stage. Primary Calymmian sources within the cra- granites (c. 999 Ma, Tack et al., 2001), as well as the Mayumba
tonic domain are restricted to the Curac-Chapada mac dike granites and related mac rocks of the northern West Congo belt
swarm (So Francisco Craton) and the Humpata sill province (Congo in Gabon (Thiblemont et al., 2011). In contrast, Tonian igneous
Craton, Silveira et al., 2013), which are tentatively correlated to a sources are much less abundant in the So Francisco Craton and
Large Igneous Province with a plume center in the Siberian Craton Aracua orogen, being limited to the A-type granites of the Salto
(Ernst et al., 2014). In the northern Espinhaco Supergroup, volcanic da Divisa Suite (915875 Ma; Silva et al., 2008; Menezes et al.,
rocks of the Bomba Formation are also Calymmian in age (Danderfer 2012), the Ilhus-Itapebi mac dikes (c. 1000900 Ma, Renne et al.,
et al., 2009). Although evidences of Calymmian magmatic rocks are 1990), and the mac dikes from the Pedro Lessa Suite (905930 Ma,
rare in the Aracua Orogen, they have been reported as orthoamphi- Machado et al., 1989; Dussin and Chemale, 2012). This difference
bolite bodies enclosed by Rhyacian gneisses in the Pocrane Complex is explained by the model of an asymmetric continental rift, with
(Silva et al., 2002; Novo, 2013). the thermal axis located in the African counterpart (Pedrosa-Soares
M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226 23

Fig. 8. Sinoptic chart illustrating the evolution of the Macabas Basin in the context of the AracuaWest Congo Orogen. Vertical bars illustrate the time span of the main
magmatic events and basin development stages. (*) West African units or events.

et al., 2008). The increase of the 9001000 Ma zircon population in was marked by large volumes of A-type bimodal magmatism with
the glaciogenic units can be explained by the exhumation of Tonian most UPb ages suggesting a time span from c. 930 Ma to c. 875 Ma
magmatic rocks during the Cryogenian rifting processes, making (Figs. 7 and 8; Pedrosa-Soares and Alkmim, 2011, and references
them available to erosion. therein). This Tonian anorogenic igneous event could have been
Finally, an input of zircons as young as 750 Ma took place in the coeval to the sedimentation of the oldest units of the Macabas
Cryogenian-Ediacaran passive margin stage. Magmatic rocks with basin (the Mato, Duas Barras and Rio Peixe Bravo formations),
similar ages are found in the South Bahia Alkaline Province (Rosa which show detrital zircon ages as young as 900 Ma (Babinski et al.,
et al., 2007) and in the Rio Negro magmatic arc (Tupinamb et al., 2012).
2012). Furthermore, mac volcanic rocks intercalated in the Lower The next anorogenic magmatic event took place in the Cryoge-
Diamictite of the West Congo belt were recently dated at 694 4 Ma nian, from c. 750 Ma to c. 675 Ma, on both sides of the AracuaWest
(UPb on baddeleyite, Straathof, 2011), and a rhyolitic tuff from Congo system and neighboring cratonic region. This implies a
the La Louila Formation yielded a zircon UPb age at 713 49 Ma long lasting paucity (c. 120 Ma) in the anorogenic magmatic activ-
(Thiblemont et al., 2011), both in the West Congo belt. These late ity, from c. 870 Ma to c. 750 Ma, which may be correlated with
Cryogenian ages for rift-related magmatic rocks are in good agree- the regional unconformities observed between the pre-glacial and
ment with the next igneous event related to the Macabas basin, glacial successions of both the Macabas and West Congolian basins
which is the formation of oceanic crust at c. 660 Ma (Queiroga et al., (Karfunkel and Hoppe, 1988; Tack et al., 2001; Frimmel et al., 2006;
2007; Queiroga, 2010). Pedrosa-Soares et al., 2008). The deposition of thick diamictite-
rich packages (Serra do Catuni, Nova Aurora and Lower Chapada
6.2. Timing of the Macabas basin lling Acau formations) marked the glacial period in the Macabas basin,
whereas thin diamictite layers intercalated with c. 700 Ma old mac
The long lasting evolution of the Macabas basin (c. 930 Ma to c. volcanic rocks (Straathof, 2011) were deposited in the West Con-
600 Ma) seems to involve more than one rifting event before its evo- golian basin. At this time, the continental basement of the basin
lution to an inland-sea basin partially oored by oceanic crust. The became increasingly stretched, as marked by the transitional geo-
mantle-activated rift system that resulted in the Tonian opening chemical and isotopic signatures of the submarine volcanism of
of the Macabas basin, including its counterpart located in Africa, the Lower Chapada Acau Formation (Gradim et al., 2005) and its
24 M. Kuchenbecker et al. / Precambrian Research 266 (2015) 1226

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Chaves, M.L.S.C., Silva, M.C.R., Scholz, R., Babinski, M., 2013a. Grenvillian age mag-
the sedimentation timing related to this stage remains uncertain, matism in the Southern Espinhaco Range (Minas Gerais): evidence from UPb
as the maximum depositional age for the glacial succession is zircon ages. Braz. J. Geol. 43 (3), 477486.
not well constrained in relation to the magmatic age interval (c. Chaves, M.L.S.C., Babinski, M., Silva, M.C.R., Scholz, R., 2013b. Idades UPb em zir-
co do conglomerado diamantfero de Gro Mogol (Supergrupo Espinhaco):
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ian research and development agencies (CNPq, FAPEMIG, FAPESP, 110, 4754.
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chemostratigraphy of the Neoproterozoic West Congolian Group in the Demo-
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New UPb ages and lithochemical attributes of the Ediacaran Rio Doce magmatic
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