Geology of Precambrian rocks and isotope geochemistry of shear zones in the Big Narrows area, northern Front Range, Colorado

Open-File Report 70-1




Rocks within the Big Narrows and Poudre Park quadrangles located in the northern Front Range of Colorado are Precambrian metasedimentary and metaigneous schists and gneisses and plutonic igneous rocks. These are locally mantled by extensive late Tertiary and Quaternary fluvial gravels. The southern boundary of the Log Cabin batholith lies within the area studied. A detailed chronology of polyphase deformation, metamorphism and plutonism has been established. Early isoclinal folding (F1) was followed by a major period of plastic deformation (F2), sillimanite-microcline grade regional metamorphism, migmatization and synkinematic Boulder Creek granodiorite plutonism (1.7 b.y.). Macroscopic doubly plunging antiformal and synformal structures were developed. P-T conditions at the peak of metamorphism were probably about 670?C and 4.5 Kb. Water pressures may locally have differed from load pressures. The 1.4 b.y. Silver Plume granite plutonism was post kinematic and on the basis of petrographic and field criteria can be divided into three facies. Emplacement was by forcible injection and assimilation. Microscopic and mesoscopic folds which postdate the formation of the characteristic mineral phases during the 1.7 b.y. metamorphism are correlated with the emplacement of the Silver Plume Log Cabin batholith. Extensive retrograde metamorphism was associated with this event. A major period of mylonitization postdates Silver Plume plutonism and produced large E-W and NE trending shear zones. A detailed study of the Rb/Sr isotope geochemistry of the layered mylonites demonstrated that the mylonitization and associated re- crystallization homogenized the Rb87/Sr 86 ratios. Whole-rock dating techniques applied to the layered mylonites indicate a probable age of 1.2 b.y. Petrographic studies suggest that the mylonitization-recrystallization process produced hornfels facies assemblages in the adjacent metasediments. Minor Laramide faulting, mineralization and igneous activity occurred within this area. A sinuous band of gravel deposits trending into the Livermore embayment and lying well above the present drainage is believed to represent a late Tertiary course of the Cache La Poudre river.

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Geology of Precambrian rocks and isotope geochemistry of shear zones in the Big Narrows area, northern Front Range, Colorado
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
239 p. ill. (some col.), maps ;28 cm.