The Western Idaho Suture Zone (WISZ) represents the boundary between crust overlying Proterozoic North American lithosphere and Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic intraoceanic crust accreted during Cretaceous time. Highly deformed plutons constituted of both arc and sialic components intrude the WISZ and in places are thrust over the accreted terranes. Pronounced variations in Sr, Nd, and O isotope ratios and in major and trace element composition occur across the suture zone in Mesozoic plutons. The WISZ is located by an abrupt west to east increase in initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios, traceable for over 300 km from eastern Washington near Clarkston, east along the Clearwater River thorough a bend to the south of about 110? from Orofino Creek to Harpster, and extending south-southwest to near Ola, Idaho, where Columbia River basalts conceal its extension to the south. K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar apparent ages of hornblende and biotite from Jurassic and Early Cretaceous plutons in the accreted terranes are highly discordant within about 10 km of the WISZ, exhibiting patterns of thermal loss caused by deformation, subsequent batholith intrusion, and rapid rise of the continental margin. Major crustal movements within the WISZ commenced after about 135 Ma, but much of the displacement may have been largely vertical, during and following emplacement of batholith-scale silicic magmas. Deformation continued until at least 85 Ma and probably until 74 Ma, progressing from south to north.
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USGS Numbered Series
Location, Age, and Tectonic Significance of the Western Idaho Suture Zone (WISZ)