Paleomagnetism and geochronology of an Early Proterozoic quartz diorite in the southern Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA


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DOI: 10.1016/S0040-1951(02)00633-9



We present geochronologic and paleomagnetic data from a north-trending quartz diorite intrusion that cuts Archean metasedimentary and metaigneous rocks of the South Pass Greenstone Belt of the Wyoming craton. The quartz diorite was previously thought to be either Archean or Early Proterozoic (?) in age and is cut by north and northeast-trending Proterozoic diabase dikes of uncertain age, for which we also report paleomagnetic data. New U-Pb analyses of baddeleyite and zircon from the quartz diorite yield a concordia upper intercept age of 2170 ?? 8 Ma (95% confidence). An 40Ar/39Ar amphibole date from the same sample yields a similar apparent age of about 2124 ?? 30 Ma (2??), thus confirming that the intrusion is Early Proterozoic in age and that it has probably not been thermally disturbed since emplacement. A magmatic event at ca. 2.17 Ga has not previously been documented in the Wyoming craton. The quartz diorite and one of the crosscutting diabase dikes yield essentially identical, well-defined characteristic remanent magnetizations. Results from eight sites in the quartz diorite yield an in situ mean direction of north declination and moderate to steep positive inclination (Dec.=355??, Inc.=65??, k=145, ??95=5??) with a paleomagnetic pole at 84??N, 215??E (??m=6??, ??p=7??). Data from other diabase dike sites are inconsistent with the quartz diorite results, but the importance of these results is uncertain because the age of the dikes is not well known. Interpretation of the quartz diorite remanent magnetization is problematic. The in situ direction is similar to expected directions for magnetizations of Late Cretaceous/early Tertiary age. However, there is no compelling evidence to suggest that these rocks were remagnetized during the late Mesozoic or Cenozoic. Assuming this magnetization to be primary, then the in situ paleomagnetic pole is strongly discordant with poles of 2167, 2214, and 2217 Ma from the Canadian Shield, and is consistent with proposed separation of the Wyoming Craton and Laurentia prior to about 1.8 Ga. Correcting the quartz diorite pole for the possible effects of Laramide-age tilting of the Wind River Range, based on the attitude of nearby overlying Cambrian Flathead Sandstone (dip=20??, N20??E), gives a tilt corrected pole of 75??N, 58??E (??m=4??, ??p=6??), which is also discordant with respect to time-equivalent poles from the Superior Province. Reconstruction of the Superior and Wyoming Province using a rotation similar to that proposed by Roscoe and Card [Can. J. Earth Sci. 46(1993)2475] is problematic, but reconstruction of the Superior and Wyoming Provinces based on restoring them to their correct paleolatitude and orientation using a closest approach fit indicates that the two cratons could have been adjacent at about 2.17 Ga prior to rifting at about 2.15 Ga. The paleomagnetic data presented are consistent with the hypothesis that the Huronian and Snowy Pass Supergroups could have evolved as part of a single epicratonic sedimentary basin during the Early Proterozoic. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Paleomagnetism and geochronology of an Early Proterozoic quartz diorite in the southern Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA
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