Structures associated with Ediacaran-Ordovician alkaline magmatism and the timing of rare earth element (REE) mineralization in the Wet Mountains, CO, were analyzed using field, geophysical, and U-Th-Pb isotope methods to interpret their tectonic setting in the context of previously proposed rift models. The Wet Mountains are known for thorium and REE mineralization associated with failed rift-related, Ediacaran-Ordovician alkaline intrusions and veins. Structural field data indicate that alkaline dikes and mineralized veins are controlled by a system of northwest-striking, high-angle faults and tension fractures formed in a 040°-directed extensional regime. Magnetic and surface expressions of Democrat Creek and McClure Mountain complexes show tectonic elongation toward ∼045°, consistent with NE-directed extension. Magnetic data also suggest the existence of a fourth, previously unrecognized mafic-ultramafic complex of inferred Cambrian age with a similar elongated orientation. Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) 208Pb/232Th analysis of low-uranium zircon from carbonatite dikes and in situ 206Pb/238U LA-ICP-MS analysis of monazite in mineralized dikes yielded 465 ± 18 Ma and 489 ± 33 Ma ages, respectively. These ages are consistent with the expected age based on slightly older, cross-cut syenite dikes and the hypothesized Ordovician end to failed rift-related magmatism. The Ediacaran-Ordovician age of alkaline magmatic rocks and the associated northeast-directed extension direction are similar to those of the along-strike, Ediacaran-Cambrian Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen. Therefore, the failed rift system in the Wet Mountains is interpreted to be a northwestern continuation of the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen with carbonatite magmatism and thorium/REE mineralization representing late intrusive phases.
|Title||Ediacaran-Ordovician magmatism and REE mineralization in the Wet Mountains, Colorado, USA: Implications for failed continental rifting|
|Authors||Benjamin Patrick Magnin, Yvette Kuiper, Eric D. Anderson|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center; Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center|