U-Pb geochronology of the Proterozoic volcano-plutonic terrane in the Gunnison and Salida areas, Colorado

M. E. Bickford, R. D. Shuster, S. J. Boardman

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44 Scopus citations


Early Proterozoic supracrustal rocks near Gunnison and Salida, Colorado, include sequences of tholeiitic metabasalt, metarhyolite to metadacite, and interbedded volcaniclastic turbidite. These rocks were intruded by synchronous gabbroic sheets, complexly folded and metamorphosed in upper greenschist to upper amphibolite facies, and intruded by plutons ranging from quartz diorite to granite. U-Pb ages of zircons show that an early period of volcanism in the Gunnison area occurred from 1,770 to 1,760 Ma and was followed by emplacement of plutons from 1,755 to 1,750 Ma. A younger sequence of volcanic rocks was formed in both the Gunnison and Salida areas between 1,740 and 1,730 Ma. In the Gunnison area these rocks were intruded by major plutons from 1,725 to 1,714 Ma. Near Howard, Colorado, southeast of Salida, metarhyolite yielding ages of 1,713 and 1,668 Ma is believed to be part of the younger sequence. Late, post-tectonic granite plutons were emplaced in both areas from 1,700 to 1,670 Ma. The age data, petrography, and geochemistry of these rocks indicates that they are part of a broad belt of juvenile, arc-related terranes, exposed from southern California across Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and known in the subsurface as far east as western Missouri, that was accreted to the southern edge of the continent during the Early Proterozoic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-48
Number of pages16
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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