Document Type


Publication Date



In the southernmost Appalachians, the Hillabee Greenstone, an Ordovician volcanic arc fragment, lies directly atop the outermost Laurentian Devonian–earliest Mississippian(?) shelf sequence at the structural top of the greenschist facies Talladega belt, the frontal metamorphic allochthon along this orogenic segment. The Hillabee Greenstone was emplaced between latest Devonian and middle Mississippian time. It and the uppermost Laurentian section were later repeated together within a series of map-scale imbricate slices of a postmetamorphic, dextral, transpressional, Alleghanian thrust duplex system that placed the high-grade eastern Blue Ridge allochthon atop the Talladega belt. Geochemical and geochronologic (U-Pb zircon) studies indicate that the Hillabee Greenstone’s interstratifi ed tholeiitic metabasalt and calc-alkaline metadacite/rhyolite formed within an extensional setting on continental crust ca. 460–470 Ma. Palinspastic reconstructions of the southern Appalachian Ordovician margin place the Hillabee Greenstone outboard of the present position of the Pine Mountain terrane and suggest links to Ordovician plutonism in the overlying eastern Blue Ridge, and possibly to widespread K-bentonite deposits within Ordovician platform units. The tectonic evolution of the Hillabee Greenstone exhibits many unusual and intriguing features, including: (1) premetamorphic emplacement along a basal cryptic thrust, which is remarkably concordant to both hanging wall and footwall sequences across its entire extent (>230 km), (2) formation, transport, and emplacement of the arc fragment accompanied by minimal deformation of the Hillabee Greenstone and underlying outer-margin shelf rocks, (3) emplacement temporally coincident with the adjacent collision of the younger, tectonically independent Ouachita volcanic arc with southeastern Laurentia. These features highlight strong contrasts in the Ordovician-Taconian evolution of the southern and northern parts of the Appalachian orogen.