Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Paleozoic seas of central Idaho

June 1, 1962

Some recent paleogeographic maps indicate that central Idaho was part of a major geosyncline throughout Paleozoic time. This concept, apparently based on thick marine accumulations far apart on the margins of the region, is inconsistent with field data. Within the area of the Idaho batholith, Permian(?) volcanic rocks rest either on batholithic rocks or on the Belt Series. The Belt Series rocks have furnished the xenoliths in the batholith. To the west upper Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata are invaded. Along the eastern margin, south of lat. 45°, thick Paleozoic strata are intruded by the batholith. These locally exceed 30,000 feet in thickness and thin eastward. They have many variations. Those close to the batholith, especially those high in the sequence, are regarded as of near-shore origin. The Paleozoic strata in southeastern Idaho, more than 17,000 feet thick, are broadly similar except that Cambrian strata there are thicker and more widespread. The part of central Idaho north of the vicinity of lat. 45° has no known Paleozoic strata. Northern Idaho has only a few outcrops of beds of Cambrian age. The differences in thickness and character between Paleozoic strata in south-central and southeastern Idaho and those in western Montana and Wyoming (less than 7500 feet thick) suggest a hinge line near the eastern boundary between Idaho and Montana with a shelf to the east and a trough to the west. In south-central Idaho this trough had a maximum width of 90 miles and a western shore roughly at the east margin of the batholith. This trough wedged out northward a little beyond lat. 45°. Thus the area of the present Idaho batholith has been a positive block since Precambrian time, comparable to but apparently of longer duration than the geanticline in northern Nevada. Any invasion of the positive block in Idaho by marine waters during the Paleozoic was local and brief, except perhaps along the western border. Uncertain correlations within the area of the batholith leave open the possibility of some deposition there early in Paleozoic time.

Publication Year 1962
Title Paleozoic seas of central Idaho
DOI 10.1130/0016-7606(1962)73[769:PSOCI]2.0.CO;2
Authors Clyde P. Ross
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geological Society of America Bulletin
Index ID 70220753
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse