News Release

New GSA bulletin articles published ahead of print in June

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Geological Society of America

Boulder, Colo., USA: The Geological Society of America regularly publishes articles online ahead of print. GSA Bulletin topics include GPS measurements in Tibet; the Cheechoo stockwork gold deposit; You can find these articles at

Initiation of clockwise rotation and eastward transport of southeastern Tibet inferred from deflected fault traces and GPS observations
Weijun Gan; Peter Molnar; Peizhen Zhang; Genru Xiao; Shiming Liang ...
Abstract: Eastward transport and clockwise rotation of crust around the southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau dominates active deformation east of the Eastern Himalayan Syntaxis. Current crustal movement inferred from GPS measurements indicates ongoing distortion of the traces of the active Red River fault and the Mesozoic Yalong-Yulong-Longmen Shan thrust belt. By extrapolating current rates back in time, we infer that this pattern of deformation developed since 10.1 ± 1.5 Ma. This date of initiation is approximately synchronous with a suite of tectonic phenomena, both near and far, within the wide Eurasia/Indian collision zone, including the initiation of slip on the Ganzi-Yushu-Xianshuihe fault and crustal thinning and E-W extension by normal faulting on N-S−trending rifts in the plateau interior. Accordingly, the eastward movement of eastern Tibet and the clockwise rotation of that material seem to be local manifestations of a larger geodynamic event at ca. 10−15 Ma that changed the kinematic style and reorganized deformation not only on the plateau-wide scale, but across the entire region affected by the India/Eurasia collision. Convective removal of some or all of Tibet’s mantle lithosphere seems to offer the simplest mechanism for these approximately simultaneous changes.
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High-resolution late Paleozoic cyclostratigraphy and tectonic evolution of the Keeler Basin, California, southwest Laurentia
Patrick J. Gannon; M. Elliot Smith; Paul J. Umhoefer; Ryan J. Leary
Abstract: Cyclic strata exposed in the Inyo Mountains of eastern California contain a continuous 6 m.y. record of deep marine deposition that spans the Pennsylvanian−Permian boundary. To better understand the geologic evolution of southwest Laurentia and the role of glacially driven eustasy in upper Paleozoic stratigraphy, we measured two detailed ∼600 m composite stratigraphic sections of the Keeler Canyon Formation and collected a handheld spectral gamma ray log. Post-depositional deformation complicates field relationships, but 1:5000 scale mapping of faults and folds permits assembly of two continuous sections. Measured strata alternate at the 5−20 m scale between intervals of fine-grained laminated marlstone and intervals of mixed carbonate and siliciclastic turbidites and debrites. Based on facies characteristics and a prominent marker horizon, we reassign the Pennsylvanian-Permian age upper Salt Tram unit of the upper Keeler Canyon Formation to a new Estelle Member. We estimate sediment accumulation rates within the Keeler Canyon Formation using published conodont biostratigraphy and correlative U-Pb geochronology from Eastern Europe combined with spectral analysis and timescale optimization using the Astrochron R package. Evolutive harmonic analysis of gamma ray-derived element concentrations reveals prominent bundled periodicities that are consistent with both long and short eccentricity cycles. Average sediment accumulation rates calculated using the time scale optimization function of Astrochron suggest a gradual increase from 40−60 m/m.y. to ∼120 m/m.y. during the late Pennsylvanian and then a minima of ∼50 m/m.y. near the Pennsylvanian−Permian boundary, which is followed by an increase to ∼175 m/m.y. into the Early Permian. This trend in sediment accumulation rates and subsequent Permian contractile deformation are compatible with flexural subsidence in a SW-migrating foreland basin related to the southern part of the late Antler orogenic system.
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Picrite-basalt complex in the Baoshan-Gongshan Block of northern Sibumasu: Onset of a mantle plume before breakup of Gondwana and opening of the Neo-Tethys Ocean
Li Su; Shuguang Song; Chao Wang; Mark B. Allen; Hongyu Zhang
Abstract: Mantle plumes are thought to play key roles in Earth’s geodynamics, including mantle convection, continental formation, and plate tectonics. The connection between plume activity and continental dispersion, as exemplified by the breakup of Gondwana and the generation of the Neo-Tethys Ocean, is a key question for the geosciences. Here, we present detailed investigations for the picrite-basalt sequence in the Baoshan-Gongshan Block of the northern Sibumasu terrane, southwest China. Field relations and petrological and geochemical data reveal that these volcanic rocks are continental flood picrites and basalts, consistent with a mantle plume origin. The estimated mantle potential temperatures range from 1527 ± 86 °C to 1546 ± 98 °C, and melting depths vary from the spinel to garnet stability fields (1.1−5.3 GPa), similar to Cenozoic Hawaiian picrites. Zircon geochronological data show that the mantle plume activity started at ca. 335 Ma and lasted to 280 Ma; this range is earlier than the breakup of the Gondwana continent and opening of the Neo-Tethys Ocean (270−260 Ma). We conclude that the long-lived mantle plume impacted the continental lithosphere but it did not drive continental breakup and the opening of Neo-Tethys Ocean, which took place because of the subduction-induced stress generated by initial subduction of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean.
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Multi-stage India-Asia collision: Paleomagnetic constraints from Hazara-Kashmir syntaxis in the western Himalaya
Umar Farooq Jadoon; Baochun Huang; Syed Anjum Shah; Yasin Rahim; Ahsan Ali Khan ...
Abstract: The India-Asia collision is the most spectacular, recent, and still active tectonic event of the Earth’s history, leading to the uplift of the Himalayan‐Tibetan orogen, which has been explained through several hypothetical models. Still, controversy remains, such as how and when it occurred. Here we report a paleomagnetic study of Cretaceous-Tertiary marine sediments from the Tethyan Himalaya (TH) in the Hazara area, north Pakistan, which aims to constrain timing for the onset of the India-Asia collision and to confirm the validity of already proposed models, particularly in western Himalaya’s perspective. Our results suggest that the TH was located at a paleolatitude of 8.5°S ± 3.8° and 13.1°N ± 3.8° during the interval of ca. 84−79 Ma and 59−56 Ma, respectively. A comparison between paleopoles obtained from the current study and coeval ones of the India Plate indicates that the TH rifted from Greater India before the Late Cretaceous, generating the Tethys Himalaya Basin (THB). Our findings support a model for a multi-stage collision involving at least two major subduction systems. A collision of the TH with the Trans-Tethyan subduction system (TTSS) began first in Late Cretaceous-Early Paleocene times (ca. 65 Ma), followed by a later collision with Asia at 55−52 Ma. The onset of the collision between the TH (plus TTSS) and Asia could not have occurred earlier than 59−56 Ma in the western Himalaya. Subsequently, the India craton collided with the TH, resulting in the diachronous closure of the THB between ca. 50 and ca. 40 Ma from west to east. These findings are consistent with geological and geochemical evidence and have a broad implication for plate reconfigurations, global climate, and biodiversity of collisional processes.
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Unraveling the link between mantle upwelling and formation of Sn-bearing granitic rocks in the world-class Dachang tin district, South China
Jia Guo; Kai Wu; Reimar Seltmann; Rongqing Zhang; Mingxing Ling ...
Abstract: Increasing evidence shows that the mantle contributes (directly or indirectly) to Sn-bearing granites worldwide. However, the specific role of mantle in the formation of tin granites and related mineralization remains poorly understood. In the world-class Dachang district, South China, tin mineralization is related to the Longxianggai equigranular/porphyritic biotite granites and tin orebodies are cut by granite porphyry dykes hosting mafic microgranular enclaves (MMEs). A combination of zircon U-Pb dating and Hf-O isotopes, mineral chemistry, and whole-rock elemental and Sr-Nd isotopic compositions—for granitic rocks and MMEs, is employed to constrain the petrogenesis and to unravel the link between tin fertility and mantle upwelling. Laser ablation−inductively coupled plasma−mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) zircon U-Pb dating indicates that the biotite granites were emplaced at ca. 93 Ma, and the granite porphyry dykes and MMEs were formed at ca. 86 Ma. The biotite granites are silica- and alkali-enriched with A/CNK ratios of 1.04−1.36, and exhibit elevated concentrations of Li, F, P, Rb, Cs, Ta, Sn, W, and U, showing affinities with highly fractionated S-type granites. Whole-rock geochemical and Nd isotopic (εNd(t) = −10.0 to −7.8) data, and in situ zircon Hf-O (εHf(t) = −9.9 to −3.9, δ18O = 6.2−8.9‰) isotopes indicate that the biotite granites were formed by partial melting of metasedimentary rocks at relatively high temperatures (≥782 °C), possibly with minor input of mantle material. Likewise, the post-ore granite porphyry dykes have similar chemical and mineralogical characteristics as fractionated S-type granites. Zircon Hf-O isotopes (εHf(t) = −9.0 to −4.9, δ18O = 6.5−8.2‰) and whole-rock geochemical data suggest they were derived from a similar source as the biotite granites, whereas elevated εNd(t) values of −5.0 to −3.3 for granite porphyry dykes relative to biotite granites reveal an increasing mantle input. Distinct εNd(t) (−0.4 and −0.3) and zircon Hf-O (εHf(t) = 1.5−5.0, δ18O = 6.5−7.2‰) isotopes of the MMEs, suggest that the mafic melt could be sourced from the asthenospheric mantle, contaminated by subcontinental lithospheric mantle/continental crust during magma ascent, and hybridized by felsic melt at emplacement-level. The magmatic sequence in the Dachang district is indicative of an extensional tectonic setting where mantle-derived magmas are predicted to migrate to shallower crustal levels as the crust progressively becomes thinner and hotter. High-temperature partial melting of mature metasedimentary crust triggered by heat input from the upwelled mantle, may contribute to biotite breakdown, which is important for concentrating tin in melts. Fractional crystallization of initially Sn-rich felsic melts under reduced conditions makes further tin enrichment and produces Sn-bearing granites (the Longxianggai pluton). Prolonged mantle upwelling results in distinct magma mixing and the formation of granite porphyry dykes and MMEs. These dykes are highly fractionated with elevated Sn and W contents, which show great potential to form hydrothermal Sn-W mineralization.
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Rapid transition from oceanic subduction to postcollisional extension revealed by Carboniferous magmatism in East Junggar (NW China), southwestern Central Asian orogenic belt
Jian Wang; Yuping Su; Jianping Zheng; E.A. Belousova; Ming Chen ...
Abstract: Knowledge of the subduction to postcollision tectonic transition in response to oceanic closure is crucial for tracking the final stage of orogenic evolution. Here, we report new geochronology, geochemistry, and isotopic data for Carboniferous magmatism in East Junggar (NW China), southwestern Central Asian orogenic belt, which may record such processes following the closure of the Kalamaili Ocean (a branch of the Paleo-Asian Ocean). The early Carboniferous calc-alkaline volcanic rocks (dominated by basalt and basaltic andesite) yielded zircon U-Pb ages of ca. 340−330 Ma and are characterized by arc-like trace-element patterns showing enrichment of light rare earth elements (LREEs) and large ion lithophile elements (LILEs; e.g., Pb) but depletion of high field strength elements (HFSEs; e.g., Nb, Ta, and Ti). Combined with their variable Ba/Nb (9.80−454) and low Nb/La (0.21−0.54) and Sm/Yb (1.77−3.08) ratios as well as depleted mantle−like Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf (whole-rock 87Sr/86Sri = 0.7037−0.7040; ɛNd[t] = +3.5 to +5.9; 206Pb/204Pbi = 17.728−17.996; zircon ɛHf[t] = +11.8 to +18.8) isotopic values, we suggest that they were produced by melting of a lithospheric mantle wedge fluxed by slab-derived fluids under spinel-facies conditions. With whole-rock 40Ar/39Ar dating of ca. 320 Ma, the late Carboniferous mafic dikes have geochemical features and Sr-Nd-Pb (87Sr/86Sri = 0.7039−0.7041; ɛNd[t] = +6.6 to +6.8; 206Pb/204Pbi = 17.905−17.933) isotopic compositions similar to those of the early Carboniferous volcanics, but they show less pronounced Pb anomalies and negative Nb and Ta anomalies. They are interpreted to have formed by partial melting of a spinel-bearing lithospheric mantle metasomatized by limited influx of subduction-related fluids. The late Carboniferous felsic volcanic rocks (dacite and rhyolite) yielded zircon U-Pb ages of ca. 305 Ma and are geochemically equivalent to those of A2-type granites in East Junggar. They have juvenile isotopic compositions (ɛNd[t] = +4.5 to +6.8; ɛHf[t] = +13.3 to +18.7) and relatively young Nd and Hf model ages that roughly coincide with the ages of the ophiolites in the area, suggesting that they could have originated from melting of a juvenile basaltic lower crust. Whole-rock geochemistry, assimilation−fractional crystallization (AFC), and isotopic mixing modeling argue for insignificant crustal contamination for the Carboniferous magmatism. We suggest that the early Carboniferous lavas erupted in an island-arc setting related to the northward subduction of the Kalamaili oceanic crust, whereas the late Carboniferous magmatism formed in a postcollisional extensional regime in response to slab breakoff or lithospheric delamination. Combined with regional geological information, we propose that a rapid tectonic transition from oceanic subduction to postcollisional extension may have occurred in East Junggar during the Carboniferous, marking the final closure of the Kalamaili Ocean, which most likely took place ca. 330−320 Ma. This study provides overall geochronological and petrogeochemical evidence to better constrain the amalgamation of the southwestern Central Asian orogenic belt and may be of great importance for understanding the final stage of orogenic evolution elsewhere.
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Laramide structure of southeastern Arizona: Role of basement-cored uplifts in shallow-angle subduction
Daniel A. Favorito; Eric Seedorff
Abstract: Laramide reverse faults in southeastern Arizona commonly are obscured by mid- to late Cenozoic extension and subsequent cover, resulting in debate about their configuration and origin. A new mid-Cenozoic paleogeologic map depicts the structural configuration before extension, and new structural reconstructions characterize Laramide shortening in terms of structural style, magnitude, evolution, and timing. Reverse faults restore to moderate to high angles, are associated with fault-propagation folds, and involve significant basement and thus constitute thick-skinned deformation. The paleogeologic map suggests several major basement-cored block uplifts, many of which are newly identified. The largest uplifts may measure 150 km along strike, similar to those in the classic Laramide province of Wyoming and Colorado. Estimated shortening across the central study area is 14% or 23 km, whereas it is only 5% (9 km) to the north and 11% (12 km) to the south. Shortening by this mechanism is inadequate to explain previous estimates of crustal thickening in the region (∼50−60 km). Therefore, magmatic underplating, lower-crustal flow, or underplating of trench sediments and lithospheric material also may have contributed to thickening. Shortening largely occurred from 86 Ma to 64 Ma and possibly as late as 53 Ma, with initiation being younger to the northeast or north. Integration with data from southwestern New Mexico implies complex geometry for the subducting flat slab. Finally, reverse faults generally do not appear to have reactivated older faults, as previously suggested, primarily because reverse faults have associated fault-propagation folds in rocks that predate supposed reactivated structures.
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A crucial geologic test of Late Jurassic exotic collision versus endemic re-accretion in the Klamath Mountains Province, western United States, with implications for the assembly of western North America
Todd A. LaMaskin; Jonathan A. Rivas; David L. Barbeau, Jr.; Joshua J. Schwartz; John A. Russell ...
Abstract: Differing interpretations of geophysical and geologic data have led to debate regarding continent-scale plate configuration, subduction polarity, and timing of collisional events on the western North American plate margin in pre–mid-Cretaceous time. One set of models involves collision and accretion of far-traveled “exotic” terranes against the continental margin along a west-dipping subduction zone, whereas a second set of models involves long-lived, east-dipping subduction under the continental margin and a fringing or “endemic” origin for many Mesozoic terranes on the western North American plate margin. Here, we present new detrital zircon U-Pb ages from clastic rocks of the Rattlesnake Creek and Western Klamath terranes in the Klamath Mountains of northern California and southern Oregon that provide a test of these contrasting models. Our data show that portions of the Rattlesnake Creek terrane cover sequence (Salt Creek assemblage) are no older than ca. 170–161 Ma (Middle–early Late Jurassic) and contain 62–83% Precambrian detrital zircon grains. Turbidite sandstone samples of the Galice Formation are no older than ca. 158–153 Ma (middle Late Jurassic) and contain 15–55% Precambrian detrital zircon grains. Based on a comparison of our data to published magmatic and detrital ages representing provenance scenarios predicted by the exotic and endemic models (a crucial geologic test), we show that our samples were likely sourced from the previously accreted, older terranes of the Klamath Mountains and Sierra Nevada, as well as active-arc sources, with some degree of contribution from recycled sources in the continental interior. Our observations are inconsistent with paleogeographic reconstructions that are based on exotic, intra-oceanic arcs formed far offshore of North America. In contrast, the incorporation of recycled detritus from older terranes of the Klamath Mountains and Sierra Nevada, as well as North America, into the Rattlesnake Creek and Western Klamath terranes prior to Late Jurassic deformation adds substantial support to endemic models. Our results suggest that during long-lived, east-dipping subduction, the opening and subsequent closing of the marginal Galice/Josephine basin occurred as a result of in situ extension and subsequent contraction. Our results show that tectonic models invoking exotic, intra-oceanic archipelagos composed of Cordilleran arc terranes fail a crucial geologic test of the terranes’ proposed exotic origin and support the occurrence of east-dipping, pre–mid-Cretaceous subduction beneath the North American continental margin.
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Quantifying structural controls on submarine channel architecture and kinematics
W. Hamish Mitchell; Alexander C. Whittaker; Mike Mayall; Lidia Lonergan; Marco Pizzi
Abstract: Over the past two decades, the increased availability of three-dimensional (3-D) seismic data and their integration with outcrop and numerical modeling studies have enabled the architectural evolution of submarine channels to be studied in detail. While tectonic activity is a recognized control on submarine channel morphology, the temporal and spatial complexity associated with these systems means submarine channel behavior over extended time periods, and the ways in which processes scale and translate into time-integrated sedimentary architecture, remain poorly understood. For example, tectonically driven changes in slope morphology may locally enhance or diminish a channel’s ability to incise, aggrade, and migrate laterally, changing channel kinematics and the distribution of composite architectures. Here, we combined seismic techniques with the concept of stratigraphic mobility to quantify how gravity-driven deformation influenced the stratigraphic architecture of two submarine channels, from the fundamental architectural unit, a channel element, to channel complex scale, on the Niger Delta slope. From a 3-D, time-migrated, seismic-reflection volume, we evaluated the evolution of widths, depths, sinuosities, curvatures, and stratigraphic mobilities at fixed intervals downslope as the channel complexes interacted with a range of gravity-driven structures. At channel element scale, sinuosity and bend amplitude were consistently elevated over structured reaches of the slope, displaying a nonlinear increase in length, perpendicular to flow direction. At channel complex scale, the same locations, updip of structure, correlated to an increase in channel complex width and aspect ratio. Normalized complex dimensions and complex-averaged stratigraphic mobilities showed lateral migration to be the dominant form of stratigraphic preservation in these locations. Our results explain the intricate relationship between the planform characteristics of channel elements and the cross-sectional dimensions of the channel complex. We show how channel element processes and kinematics translate to form higher-order stratigraphic bodies, and we demonstrate how tectonically driven changes in slope develop channel complexes with distinct cross-sectional and planform architectures.
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Basement-decoupled hyperextension rifting: The tectono-stratigraphic record of the salt-rich Pyrenean necking zone (Arzacq Basin, SW France)
M. Ducoux; E. Masini; J. Tugend; J. Gómez-Romeu; S. Calassou
Abstract: Half grabens and supra-detachment basins correspond to end-member basin types of magma-poor rift settings, each of them showing a characteristic stratigraphic architecture. The occurrence of a basement-cover décollement has been shown to drastically change the stratigraphic architecture of half graben basins, however, the effect of such basement-cover décollement remains to be documented in supra-detachment basins formed during hyper-extension. We investigate the tectono-stratigraphic record of the Arzacq Basin (SW France) recording the formation of a salt-rich Cretaceous hyperextended rift system. Combining 2-D and 3-D seismic reflection calibrated from well data, we show that this basin is an asymmetric syn-rift extensional syncline growing above a pre-kinematic salt layer. By mapping the sub-salt basement, we show that the formation of this syncline is controlled by the South-Arzacq Fault (SAF), soling in the sub-salt basement. Based on crosscutting relationships and the observed southward migration of syn-rift depocenters, this N110°-striking, 20°-dipping structure accommodates >10 km of thick-skinned extension. The overlying supra-salt cover coherently glided, following the basement geometry. The 3-D segmentation of the SAF and the sub-salt stratigraphic architecture of the Arzacq Basin suggest a roughly dip-slip kinematic. A post-kinematic kilometer-scale uplift is documented on the southern side of the Arzacq Basin. It may result from the increasing lithospheric thinning and thermal support at the end of asymmetric hyperextension. As salt commonly occurs in extensional settings, we believe that our description of the tectono-stratigraphic record of a basement-decoupled supra-detachment basin has global applicability to unleash the tectono-stratigraphic evolution of worldwide hyper-extended rifted margins.
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Formation of the crater suevite sequence from the Chicxulub peak ring: A petrographic, geochemical, and sedimentological characterization
Pim Kaskes; Sietze J. de Graaff; Jean-Guillaume Feignon; Thomas Déhais; Steven Goderis ...
Abstract: This study presents a new classification of a ∼100-m-thick crater suevite sequence in the recent International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)-International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) Expedition 364 Hole M0077A drill core to better understand the formation of suevite on top of the Chicxulub peak ring. We provide an extensive data set for this succession that consists of whole-rock major and trace element compositional data (n = 212) and petrographic data supported by digital image analysis. The suevite sequence is subdivided into three units that are distinct in their petrography, geochemistry, and sedimentology, from base to top: the ∼5.6-m-thick non-graded suevite unit, the ∼89-m-thick graded suevite unit, and the ∼3.5-m-thick bedded suevite unit. All of these suevite units have isolated Cretaceous planktic foraminifera within their clastic groundmass, which suggests that marine processes were responsible for the deposition of the entire M0077A suevite sequence. The most likely scenario describes that the first ocean water that reached the northern peak ring region entered through a N-NE gap in the Chicxulub outer rim. We estimate that this ocean water arrived at Site M0077 within 30 minutes after the impact and was relatively poor in rock debris. This water caused intense quench fragmentation when it interacted with the underlying hot impact melt rock, and this resulted in the emplacement of the ∼5.6-m-thick hyaloclastite-like, non-graded suevite unit. In the following hours, the impact structure was flooded by an ocean resurge rich in rock debris, which caused the phreatomagmatic processes to stop and the ∼89-m-thick graded suevite unit to be deposited. We interpret that after the energy of the resurge slowly dissipated, oscillating seiche waves took over the sedimentary regime and formed the ∼3.5-m-thick bedded suevite unit. The final stages of the formation of the impactite sequence (estimated to be <20 years after impact) were dominated by resuspension and slow atmospheric settling, including the final deposition of Chicxulub impactor debris. Cumulatively, the Site M0077 suevite sequence from the Chicxulub impact site preserved a high-resolution record that provides an unprecedented window for unravelling the dynamics and timing of proximal marine cratering processes in the direct aftermath of a large impact event.
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Quaternary chronology and rock uplift recorded by marine terraces, Gaviota coast, Santa Barbara County, California, USA
Daniel L. Morel; Kristin D. Morell; Edward A. Keller; Tammy M. Rittenour
Abstract: The Transverse Ranges of southern California are a region of active transpression on the western margin of North America that hosts some of the world’s highest uplift rates at the Ventura anticline. Yet, the manner in which rock uplift rates change along strike from Ventura to the westernmost Transverse Ranges and the structures that may be responsible for this uplift remain unclear. Here, we quantified rock uplift rates within the westernmost 60 km of the Transverse Ranges by obtaining new age constraints from raised beach and shoreface deposits from marine terraces along the Gaviota coast. Twelve radiocarbon (seven sites) and eight luminescence (six sites) ages, ranging from ca. 50 to 40 k.y. B.P. and ca. 56 to 43 ka, respectively, consistently suggest that the first emergent terrace dates to marine isotope stage (MIS) 3, rather than MIS 5a as previously reported for the western Gaviota coast. These younger ages yield rock uplift rates between 0.8 ± 0.3 and 1.8 ± 0.4 m/k.y., i.e., over five times higher than previous estimates for this region. The spatial distribution of rock uplift rates and the abrupt along-strike changes in marine terrace elevations favor a regional tectonic model with a step-wise change in rock uplift across the south branch of the Santa Ynez fault. The south branch of the Santa Ynez fault appears to separate two regional tectonic blocks, characterized by rock uplift rates of ∼1.3−1.6 m/k.y. to the east and slightly lower rates to the west (∼0.8−1.4 m/k.y.). Our observations suggest that coastal rock uplift is primarily accommodated by deeply rooted far-field structures such as the offshore Pitas Point−North Channel fault system and the Santa Ynez fault, and that smaller through-going structures impart second-order controls and locally accommodate short-wavelength (<10-km-long strike length) deformation. These results imply that although the rates of rock uplift decline westward along strike, the westernmost portion of the western Transverse Ranges nonetheless accommodates relatively high (>1 m/k.y.) rock uplift rates at a significant distance (>50 km) from the rapidly uplifting (6−7 m/k.y.) Ventura anticline, and >100 km from the prominent restraining bend (“Big Bend”) in the San Andreas fault. The new constraints on the geometry of Quaternary-active structures and regional rates of fault-related deformation have implications for regional earthquake source models and seismic hazard assessment in the highly populated southern California coast region.
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Vein topology, structures, and distribution during the prograde formation of an Archean gold stockwork
François Turlin; Stéphane De Souza; Michel Jébrak; Pierre-Arthur Groulier; Jordi Turcotte
Abstract: The Archean Cheechoo stockwork gold deposit is hosted by a felsic intrusion of tonalitic-granodioritic composition and crosscutting pegmatite dikes in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay area of Quebec, Canada (Archean Superior craton). The evolution of the stockwork is characterized herein using field relationships, vein density, and connectivity measurements on drill core and outcrop zones. The statistical distribution of gold is used to highlight mechanisms of stockwork emplacement and gold mineralization and remobilization. Two statistical populations of gold concentration are present. Population A is represented by gold grades below 1 g/t with a lognormal cumulative frequency. It is widespread in the hydrothermally altered (albite and quartz) and mineralized facies of the pluton. It is controlled by the development of quartz-feldspar-diopside veins as shown by the similar lognormal distribution of grades and vein density and by the correspondence of grades with network connectivity. Diopside and actinolite porphyroblasts in deformed veins within sodic and calcsilicate alteration zones are evidence for auriferous vein emplacement prior to the amphibolite facies peak of metamorphism. Population B (>1 g/t) is erratic and exhibits a strong nugget effect. It is present throughout the mineralized portion of the pluton and in pegmatites. This population is interpreted as the result of gold remobilization during prograde metamorphism and pegmatite emplacement following the metamorphic peak. The pegmatites are interpreted to have scavenged gold emplaced prior to peak metamorphism. These results show the isotropic behavior of the investigated stockwork during regional deformation and its development during the early stages of regional prograde metamorphism.
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Sr isotopes in the Tortonian-Messinian Lake Bira and Gesher marshes, Northern Valleys of Israel: Implications for hydroclimate changes in East Mediterranean−Levant margins
A.G. Rozenbaum; M. Stein; E. Zilberman; D. Shaked Gelband; A. Starinsky ...
Abstract: 87Sr/86Sr isotope and Sr/Ca ratios in lacustrine carbonates were used to reconstruct the hydroclimate conditions in the watershed of Lake Bira that filled during the Tortonian-Messinian the tectonic depressions of the Northern Valleys of Israel in the East Mediterranean-Levant region. 87Sr/86Sr ratios of the Tortonian (ca. 10−8 Ma) carbonates of ∼0.7075 and the great expansion of the lake indicate wet conditions and enhanced supply of freshwater from the regional Mesozoic aquifers. Upon the transition to the Messinian period (ca. 7−6 Ma), the 87Sr/86Sr ratios in the carbonates rose to ∼0.7080−0.7085, reflecting the contribution of Sr from Sahara Desert dusts that came to comprise the regional surface cover. This contribution is also reflected in the silicate fraction of the lacustrine formations that show “granitic-crustal” 87Sr/86Sr ratios of ∼0.711. During the Messinian salinity crisis (5.9−5.6 Ma), the region became arid and Lake Bira possibly dried. Later, during the Lago Mare stage (ca. 5.5−5.3 Ma), the rainfall increased and paludal waterbodies scattered the area of the larger Lake Bira.
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Forced subduction initiation within the Neotethys: An example from the mid-Cretaceous Wuntho-Popa arc in Myanmar
Liyun Zhang; Weiming Fan; Lin Ding; Alex Pullen; Mihai N. Ducea ...
Abstract: Despite decades of research, the mechanisms and processes of subduction initiation remain obscure, including the tectonic settings where subduction initiation begins and how magmatism responds. The Cretaceous Mawgyi Volcanics represent the earliest volcanic succession in the Wuntho-Popa arc of western Myanmar. This volcanic unit consists of an exceptionally diverse range of contemporaneously magmatic compositions which are spatially juxtaposed. Our new geochemical data show that the Mawgyi Volcanics comprise massive mid-oceanic ridge basalt (MORB)-like lavas and dikes, and subordinate island arc tholeiite and calc-alkaline lavas. The Mawgyi MORB-like rocks exhibit flat rare earth elements (REEs) patterns and are depleted in REEs, high field strength elements (except for Th) and TiO2 concentrations relative to those of MORBs, resembling the Izu-Bonin-Mariana protoarc basalts. Our geochronological results indicate that the Mawgyi Volcanics formed between 105 and 93 Ma, coincident with formation of many Neotethyan supra-subduction zone ophiolites and intraoceanic arcs along orogenic strike in the eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia. Combined with its near-equatorial paleo-latitudes constrained by previous paleomagnetic data, the Wuntho-Popa arc is interpreted as a segment of the north-dipping trans-Neotethyan subduction system during the mid-Cretaceous. Importantly, our restoration with available data provides new evidence supporting the hypothesis of a mid-Cretaceous initiation of this >8000-km-long subduction system formed by inversion of the ∼E-W−trending Neotethyan oceanic spreading ridges, and that this was contemporaneous with the final breakup of Gondwana and an abrupt global plate reorganization.
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Evaluating the role of topographic inversion in the formation of the Stanislaus Table Mountains in the Sierra Nevada (California, USA)
Emmanuel Gabet
Abstract: The Table Mountains, a flat-topped series of ridges capped by a 10.4 Ma latite flow in the Stanislaus River watershed, are considered to be evidence for late Cenozoic uplift-driven landscape rejuvenation in the northern Sierra Nevada range (California, USA). The commonly accepted theory for the formation of these mesas posits that the latite flowed and cooled within a bedrock paleovalley and, since then, the surrounding landscape has eroded away, leaving behind the volcanic deposit as a ridge. Although this theory is accepted by many, it has not been thoroughly tested. In this study, I examine a series of geological cross-sections extracted along the length of the latite deposit to determine whether the evidence supports the existence of bedrock valley walls on both sides of the 10.4 Ma flow. I find that the presence of older Cenozoic deposits adjacent to the latite flow precludes the possibility that the flow would have been constrained within a bedrock valley. Moreover, the cross-section from an 1865 report that has been offered as evidence of topographic inversion (and subsequently reproduced in numerous publications) does not accurately represent the topography at that site. I conclude that there is no evidence that the bedrock topography has been inverted and that instead, the latite flowed within a channel cut into underlying Cenozoic deposits, which have since mostly eroded away. This study, therefore, refutes the hypothesis that the Stanislaus River watershed was rejuvenated in the late Cenozoic and challenges the claim for recent significant uplift of the region.
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Metamorphism and geochronology of high-pressure mafic granulites (retrograded eclogites?) in East Cathaysia terrane of South China: Implications for Mesozoic tectonic evolution
Yanfei Xia; Changqing Yin; Shoufa Lin; Jian Zhang; Jiahui Qian ...
Abstract: High-pressure mafic granulites (retrograded eclogites?) were discovered as minor lenses enclosed in garnet-kyanite-cordierite gneiss from the Badu Complex of the East Cathaysia terrane in South China. These rocks consist mainly of garnet, clinopyroxene, hornblende, quartz, and rutile/ilmenite with or without omphacite pseudomorphs that are indicated by clinopyroxene + sodic plagioclase symplectic intergrowths. Mineral textures and reaction relationships suggest three metamorphic stages: (1) an eclogite-facies stage (M1) characterized by the mineral assemblage of garnet + clinopyroxene (omphacite) + hornblende + rutile + quartz; (2) a high-pressure granulite-facies (M2) stage mainly represented by garnet + clinopyroxene + plagioclase + hornblende + rutile + quartz in the matrix; and (3) an amphibolite retrograde stage (M3) defined by hornblende + plagioclase + ilmenite + quartz symplectites surrounding garnet porphyroblasts. Conventional geothermometers and geobarometers in combination with phase equilibria modeling constrain metamorphic P−T conditions of 15.8−18.2 kbar/625−690 °C (M1), 11.8−14.5 kbar/788−806 °C (M2), and 5.4−6.4 kbar/613−668 °C (M3), respectively. Two-staged decompression processes are defined after the peak pressure, which suggests a two-staged exhumation of these deeply buried rocks. Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) zircon U-Pb dating and trace element analysis show that the high-pressure metamorphism occurred at 240−244 Ma. Complete early Mesozoic orogenic processes characterized by initial subduction and/or crustal thickening and subsequent exhumation followed by rapid uplift are reconstructed for this part of the East Cathaysia terrane, South China.
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Early Pleistocene to present paleoclimate archive for the American Southwest from Stoneman Lake, Arizona, USA
Spencer E. Staley; Peter J. Fawcett; R. Scott Anderson; Gonzalo Jiménez-Moreno
Abstract: Long, continuous records of terrestrial paleoclimate offer insights into natural climate variability and provide context for geomorphological studies, climate model reconstructions, and predictions of future climate change. STL14 is an 80 m lacustrine sediment core that archives paleoenvironmental changes at Stoneman Lake, Coconino County, Arizona, from the early Pleistocene (ca. 1.3 Ma) to present. Full-core sedimentology was analyzed using smear slides and core face observations. Lithofacies strongly correlate with wet bulk density and bulk magnetic susceptibility (MS), and these data resemble a sawtooth pattern characteristic of glacial-interglacial climate cycles. A linkage between deep to shallow lake depth transitions and glacial terminations is supported by an age model that incorporates accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dates and tephrochronology of ashes from the Lava Creek B and multiple Long Valley, California, volcanic eruptions. We correlated middle and late Pleistocene glacial maxima to deep lake deposits defined by well-preserved bedding, increased biosilica, boreal pollen taxa (i.e., Picea), and lower density and MS. Interglacial periods are associated with shallow-water deposits characterized by banded-to-massive siliciclastic material, some authigenic calcite, the alga Phacotus, and higher density and MS. Prior to the marine isotope stage (MIS) 24−22 interval, smaller-amplitude changes in the lake environment suggest milder glacial conditions compared to those of the middle and late Pleistocene. Thus, abrupt intensification of glacial conditions may have occurred ca. 900 ka in the American Southwest, mirroring a global characteristic of the mid-Pleistocene transition. The STL14 record suggests that lake environments throughout the history of this small (3.5 km2), internally drained, basaltic catchment are sensitive to the regional hydrologic balance, which, at orbital time scales, is largely influenced by the northern cryosphere and associated changes in atmospheric circulation. The predominance of quartz in sediment throughout the record indicates significant eolian inputs. Few paleoclimate records from this region extend beyond the last glacial cycle, let alone the middle Pleistocene, making STL14 a valuable resource for studying environmental responses to a range of natural climate states and transitions throughout much of the Quaternary.
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Refining the Paleoproterozoic tectonothermal history of the Penokean Orogen: New U-Pb age constraints from the Pembine-Wausau terrane, Wisconsin, USA
Jian-Wei Zi; Stephen Sheppard; Janet R. Muhling; Birger Rasmussen
Abstract: An enduring problem in the assembly of Laurentia is uncertainty about the nature and timing of magmatism, deformation, and metamorphism in the Paleoproterozoic Wisconsin magmatic terranes, which have been variously interpreted as an intra-oceanic arc, foredeep or continental back-arc. Resolving these competing models is difficult due in part to a lack of a robust time-frame for magmatism in the terranes. The northeast part of the terranes in northern Wisconsin (USA) comprise mafic and felsic volcanic rocks and syn-volcanic granites thought to have been emplaced and metamorphosed during the 1890−1830 Ma Penokean orogeny. New in situ U-Pb geochronology of igneous zircon from the volcanic rocks (Beecher Formation), and from two tonalitic plutons (the Dunbar Gneiss and Newingham Tonalite) intruding the volcanic rocks, yielded crystallization ages ranging from 1847 ± 10 Ma to 1842 ± 7 Ma (95% confidence). Thus, these rocks record a magmatic episode that is synchronous with bimodal volcanism in the Wausau domain and Marshfield terrane farther south. Our results, integrated with published data into a time-space diagram, highlight two bimodal magmatic cycles, the first at 1890−1860 Ma and the second at 1845−1830 Ma, developed on extended crust of the Superior Craton. The magmatic episodes are broadly synchronous with volcanogenic massive sulfide mineralization and deposition of Lake Superior banded iron formations. Our data and interpretation are consistent with the Penokean orogeny marking west Pacific-style accretionary orogenesis involving lithospheric extension of the continental margin, punctuated by transient crustal shortening that was accommodated by folding and thrusting of the arc-back-arc system. The model explains the shared magmatic history of the Pembine-Wausau and Marshfield terranes. Our study also reveals an overprinting metamorphic event recorded by reset zircon and new monazite growth dated at 1775 ± 10 Ma suggesting that the main metamorphic event in the terranes is related to the Yavapai-interval accretion rather than the Penokean orogeny.
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1 July 2021
The Geological Society of America
Release No. 21-47
Contact: Kea Giles

For Immediate Release

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