Across the Salmon River suture in western Idaho, where allochthonous Permian to Cretaceous oceanic rocks are juxtaposed against Proterozoic North American rocks, a wide variety of plutonic rocks are exposed. Available data indicate much variation in composition, source, and structural state of these plutons. The plutonic rocks were long described as the western border zone of the Cretaceous Idaho batholith but limited pre-existing age data indicate more complicated origins. Because the affinity and age of the plutonic rocks cannot be reliably determined from field relations, TIMS U-Pb dating in conjunction with Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopic studies of selected plutons across the suture in western Idaho were undertaken. The data indicate three general groups of plutons including (1) those that intruded the island arc terranes during the Triassic and Jurassic, those that intruded near the western edge of oceanic rocks along the suture in the Early Cretaceous, and the plutons of the Idaho batholith that intruded Proterozoic North American rocks in the Late Cretaceous. Plutons that intruded Proterozoic North American rocks commonly include xenocrystic zircons and in several cases, ages could not be determined. The least radiogenic Sr and most radiogenic Nd are found among the Blue Mountains superterrane island arc samples. Suture-zone plutons have isotopic characteristics that span the range between Idaho batholith and island arc samples but mostly follow island arc signatures. Plutons of the Idaho batholith have the most radiogenic initial Pb and Sr ratios and the least radiogenic Nd of the samples analyzed.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Uranium-Lead Zircon Ages and Sr, Nd, and Pb Isotope Geochemistry of Selected Plutonic Rocks from Western Idaho