Geological Magazine

Stratigraphy and eruptive history of the Late Devonian Mount Pleasant Caldera Complex, Canadian Appalachians

a1 New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy, Mineral Resources Division, P.O. Box 50, Bathurst, New Brunswick, E2A 3Z1, Canada
a2 Geological Survey of Canada, Mineral Resources Division, 601 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0E8, Canada
a3 Department of Geology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3J5, Canada


Stratigraphic, petrographic and geochemical evidence indicate that the volcano-sedimentary rocks of the Late Devonian Piskahegan Group, located in the northern Appalachians of southwestern New Brunswick, represent the eroded remnants of a large epicontinental caldera complex. This complex – the Mount Pleasant Caldera – is one of few recognizable pre-Cenozoic calderas and is divisible into Exocaldera, Intracaldera and Late Caldera-Fill sequences. The Intracaldera Sequence comprises four formations that crop out in a triangular-shaped area and includes: thick ash flow tuffs, thick sedimentary breccias that dip inward, and stocks of intermediate to felsic composition that intrude the volcanic pile or are localized along caldera-margin faults. The Exocaldera Sequence contains ash flow tuffs, mafic lavas, alluvial redbeds and porphyritic felsic lavas that comprise five formations. The Late Caldera-Fill Sequence contains rocks that are similar to those of the outflow facies and comprises two formations and two minor intrusive units. Geochemical and mineralogical data support the stratigraphic subdivision and indicate that the basaltic rocks are mantle-derived and have intraplate chemical affinities. The andesites were probably derived from basaltic magma by fractional crystallization and assimilation of crustal material. The various felsic units are related by episodes of fractional crystallization in a high-level, zoned magma chamber. Fractionation was repeatedly interrupted by eruption of material from the roof zone such that seven stages of caldera development have been identified. The genesis of the caldera is related to a period of lithospheric thinning that followed the Acadian Orogeny in the northern Appalachians.

(Received January 29 1996)
(Accepted June 6 1996)