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Heterogeneous multi-stage accretionary orogenesis — Evidence from the Gunnison block in the Yavapai Province, southwest USA

January 5, 2024

Proterozoic rocks exposed in the southwestern U.S.A. represent one of the best examples of crustal growth by arc-related magmatism and accretionary orogenesis. Within the Southwest the 1.8–1.7 Ga Yavapai Province is widely regarded as a classic example of juvenile arc crust, however 1.8–2.5 Ga inherited zircon and Nd and Hf model ages have been recognized near Gunnison in central Colorado. These data have led to questions regarding the extent and nature of pre-1.8 Ga crustal material and the genesis of the Yavapai Province. We present evidence for a geochemically distinct, spatially restricted crustal block underlain by pre-1.8 Ga crust material (referred to here as the Gunnison block) in central to western Colorado within the Yavapai Province. The Gunnison block is characterized by 1.8–1.9 and 2.4–2.6 Ga inherited zircon, Pb isotopic systematics (μ = 9.8 ± 0.1, κ = 3.7 ± 0.1) elevated relative to 1.8 Ga depleted mantle values, 1.8–2.5 Ga Nd and Hf model ages, and a distinct pressure-temperature-time history. The geochemical data are consistent with mixing between juvenile 1.8 Ga and pre-1.8 Ga sources. The older crustal component is most similar to the isotopically enriched Mojave Province of eastern California and western Arizona, suggesting greater similarities between these provinces than previously recognized. Monazite and xenotime petrochronology indicate ca. 1.75–1.74, 1.72–1.69, 1.67, and 1.47–1.38 Ga tectono-metamorphic events. These data suggest that the Gunnison block accreted to other components of the Yavapai Province outboard of Laurentia at 1.75–1.74 Ga. The composite Yavapai Province was accreted to the margin of Laurentia during the 1.72–1.69 Ga Yavapai orogeny. Later overprinting is associated with the ∼1.68–1.60 Ga Mazatzal and ∼1.47–1.37 Ga Picuris orogenies. Identification of distinct crustal terranes within the Yavapai Province supports models involving multiple arcs and back-arcs that were progressively assembled prior to their accretion to Laurentia, perhaps akin to the present-day Banda Sea in Indonesia.

Publication Year 2024
Title Heterogeneous multi-stage accretionary orogenesis — Evidence from the Gunnison block in the Yavapai Province, southwest USA
DOI 10.1016/j.precamres.2023.107256
Authors Ian William Hillenbrand, Amy K. Gilmer, Michael L. Williams, Karl E. Karlstrom, Amanda (Kate) Souders, Jorge A. Vazquez, Wayne R. Premo
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Precambrian Research
Index ID 70251132
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center