The Araçuaí-West Congo orogen (AWCO) is one of the various components of the Brasiliano/Pan-African orogenic network generated during the amalgamation of West Gondwana. In the reconstructions of Gondwana, the AWCO, encompassing the Araçuaí orogen of South America and the West Congo belt of Southwestern Africa, appears as a tongue-shaped orogenic zone embraced by the São Francisco-Congo craton. Differing from the vast majority of the known orogens owing to its singular confined setting, the AWCO contains a large amount of orogenic igneous rocks emplaced in all stages of its tectonic evolution. We present new and revised information about the oldest Ediacaran granitic assemblage, the G1 Supersuite, which together with the Rio Doce Group defines the Rio Doce magmatic arc, and then we propose a new tectonic setting for the arc. Field relationships and mineralogical compositions of the G1 Supersuite allow us to characterize three lithofacies associations, Opx-bearing rocks, enclave-rich Tonalite–Granodiorite and enclave-poor Granite–Tonalite, suggesting different crustal levels are exposed in the central part of the Araçuaí orogen. The region is interpreted to represent a tilted crustal section, with deep arc roots now exposed along its western border. Chemically, these plutonic associations consist mostly of magnesian, metaluminous to slightly peraluminous, calc-alkaline to alkali-calcic and medium- to high-K acidic rocks. The dacitic and rhyolitic rocks of the Rio Doce Group are mainly magnesian, peraluminous, calcic to calc-alkaline, and medium- to high-K acidic rocks. Zircon U–Pb data constrain the crystallization of the granitoids between ca. 625 and 574 Ma, while the age of the metamorphosed volcanic rocks is around ca. 585 Ma. Thus, within errors, these rock associations likely belong to the same magmatic event and might represent the subduction-related, pre-collisional, evolution of the Araçuaí orogen. In addition, whole-rock Sm–Nd isotopic compositions show variable negative εNd(t) values between −6.7 and −13.8, and TDM model ages varying from 1.39 to 2.26 Ga, while εHf(t) vary between −5.2 and −11.7, with TDM ages from 1.5 to 2.0 Ga. Thus, predominantly constructed upon Paleoproterozoic (Rhyacian) basement, the Rio Doce arc shows crustal sources largely prevailing over mantle sources, providing a well-studied example to be compared with similar orogenic settings around the world.
The Araçuaí orogen of southeastern Brazil together with the West Congo belt of central West Africa form the Araçuaí–West Congo orogen generated during closure of a terminal segment of the Neoproterozoic Adamastor Ocean. Corresponding to an embayment in the São Francisco–Congo Craton, this portion of the Adamastor was only partially floored by oceanic crust. The convergence of its margins led to the development of the Rio Doce magmatic arc between 630 Ma and 580 Ma. The Rio Doce magmatic arc terminates in the northern portion of the Araçuaí orogen. Granitic plutons exposed in the northern extremity of the arc provide a rare opportunity to study magmatism at arc terminations, and to understand the interplay between calc-alkaline magma production and crustal recycling. The plutons forming the terminus of the arc consist of granodiorites, tonalites and monzogranites similar to a magnesian, slightly peraluminous, calcic- (68%) to calc-alkaline (24%), with minor alkali-calcic (8%) facies, medium- to high-K magmatic series. Although marked by negative Nb–Ta, Sr and Ti anomalies, typically associated with subduction-related magmas, the combined Sr, Nd and Hf isotopic data characterize a crustal signature related to anatexis of metamorphosed igneous and sedimentary rocks, rather than fractional crystallization of mantle-derived magmas. Zircon U–Pb ages characterizes two groups of granitoids. The older group, crystallized between 630 and 590 Ma, experienced a migmatization event at ca. 585 Ma. The younger granitoids, emplaced between 570 and 590 Ma, do not show any evidence for migmatization. Most of the investigated samples show good correlation with the experimental compositional field of amphibolite dehydration-melting, with some samples plotting into the field of greywacke dehydration-melting. The studied rocks are not typical I-type or S-type granites, being particularly similar to transitional I/S-type granitoids described in the Ordovician Famatinian arc (NW Argentina). We suggest a hybrid model involving dehydration-melting of meta-igneous (amphibolites) and metasedimentary (greywackes) rocks for magma production in the northern termination of the Rio Doce arc. The real contribution of each end-member is, however, a challenging work still to be done.