Pre- to Synglacial Rift-Related Volcanism in the Neoproterozoic (Cryogenian) Pocatello Formation, SE Idaho: New SHRIMP and CA-ID-TIMS Constraints

Document Type


Publication Date



Volcanic and diamictite-bearing strata of the Neoproterozoic Pocatello Formation record middle Cryogenian glaciation and alkaline to subalkaline within-plate magmatism during Rodinia rifting. New mapping along the Oxford Ridge segment of the southern Bannock Range in SE Idaho has resolved stratigraphic relationships between the Scout Mountain and underlying Bannock volcanic members of the Pocatello Formation. Bannock Volcanic Member metabasalt has an upper gradational contact with over 250 m of Scout Mountain Member that includes extrabasinal and volcaniclastic diamictite, in turn overlain by a volcaniclastic unit (the Oxford Mountain tuffite). Previous attempts to date the tuffite include three sets of analyses of the original sample (06PL00) and one resample (04JK09) that yielded sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) U-Pb zircon concordia ages of ca. 709, 702, and 686 Ma and one isotope dilution–thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) age of 687.4 ± 1.3 Ma. Several new samples of plagioclase-phyric volcanic sandstone and the tuffite, dated via high-precision (∼0.1%) chemical abrasion (CA) ID-TIMS, have multimodal zircon populations with single-crystal ages ranging from as old as 709 Ma to as young as 685 Ma, confirming the epiclastic nature of the deposit. The majority of grains in one sample yielded a 206Pb/238U weighted mean age of 685.5 ± 0.4 Ma, which provides a robust maximum age of deposition.

From the type section of the lower Scout Mountain Member, Pocatello Formation at Portneuf Narrows, we report four new SHRIMP maximum depositional ages between 705 ± 5 Ma and 682 ± 6 Ma. A 691 ± 4 Ma (SHRIMP) volcanic clast from the cobble conglomerate member provides a maximum depositional age, and provides a geochronologic correlation with the Oxford Mountain tuffite. The data are interpreted to support a lithostratigraphic correlation between the diamictite on Oxford Mountain and the lower diamictite at Portneuf Narrows and to show that the upper glaciogenic diamictite in the Portneuf Narrows section is younger than 685 Ma. This 685 Ma age from rift-related rocks that underlie the Brigham Group passive-margin succession provides a maximum age for onset of rift subsidence.

Lu-Hf analyses of 685–730 Ma igneous zircons yield enriched initial εHf values in the range +2 to −17, indicating that they crystallized from magma that incorporated depleted Paleoproterozoic to Archean crustal components of the underlying Farmington Canyon Complex and Wyoming craton.