Title

Intrusive and Depositional Constraints on the Cretaceous Tectonic History of the Southern Blue Mountains, Eastern Oregon

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2017

Abstract

We present an integrated study of the postcollisional (post–Late Jurassic) history of the Blue Mountains province (Oregon and Idaho, USA) using constraints from Cretaceous igneous and sedimentary rocks. The Blue Mountains province consists of the Wallowa and Olds Ferry arcs, separated by forearc accretionary material of the Baker terrane. Four plutons (Lookout Mountain, Pedro Mountain, Amelia, Tureman Ranch) intrude along or near the Connor Creek fault, which separates the Izee and Baker terranes. High-precision U-Pb zircon ages indicate 129.4–123.8 Ma crystallization ages and exhibit a north-northeast–younging trend of the magmatism. The 40Ar/39Ar analyses on biotite and hornblende indicate very rapid (<1 m.y.) cooling below biotite closure temperature (∼350 °C) for the plutons. The (U-Th)/He zircon analyses were done on a series of regional plutons, including the Lookout Mountain and Tureman Ranch plutons, and indicate a middle Cretaceous age of cooling through ∼200 °C. Sr, Nd, and Pb isotope geochemistry on the four studied plutons confirms that the Izee terrane is on Olds Ferry terrane basement. We also present data from detrital zircons from Late Cretaceous sedimentary rocks at Dixie Butte, Oregon. These detrital zircons record only Paleozoic–Mesozoic ages with only juvenile Hf isotopic compositions, indicating derivation from juvenile accreted terrane lithosphere. Although the Blue Mountains province is juxtaposed against cratonic North America along the western Idaho shear zone, it shows trends in magmatism, cooling, and sediment deposition that differ from the adjacent part of North America and are consistent with a more southern position for terranes of this province at the time of their accretion. We therefore propose a tectonic history involving moderate northward translation of the Blue Mountains province along the western Idaho shear zone in the middle Cretaceous.