New U-Pb and Sm-Nd data from the Blue Mountains province, eastern Oregon and western Idaho, clarify terrane correlations and regional evolution of the western Laurentian plate margin during Mesozoic time. We report an Early Jurassic age for a red tuff unit at Pittsburg Landing, Idaho, which is 25 m.yr. older than previous Middle Jurassic estimates. In the Coon Hollow Formation at Pittsburg Landing and at the type location on the Snake River, chemical abrasion thermal ionization mass spectrometry U-Pb zircon ages on interbedded tuff and detrital zircon U-Pb maximum depositional ages indicate that deposition spanned ca. 160–150Ma, entirely during Late Jurassic time. Detrital zircon U-Pb ages represent local Wallowa arc basement and regional magmatic sources spanning ca. 290–140 Ma. Mudrock Nd isotope compositions of the Coon Hollow Formation record an increase in juvenile magmatism consistent with regional Late Jurassic trends in western North American magmatic systems. These data show that the Coon Hollow Formation is not part of a Middle Jurassic overlap assemblage, as has been historically interpreted. Instead, we propose that the Coon Hollow Formation is part of a belt of suprasubduction-zone extensional back-arc basins that formed in latest Jurassic time due to a well-documented period of trench retreat in the western United States. Our new data require that the underlying Wallowa terrane was accreted to and received detritus from western North America by ca. 160 Ma (early Late Jurassic). This minimum estimate for the age of terrane accretion in western Idaho and eastern Oregon is substantially earlier than previous estimates (∼135–118 Ma). In the Blue Mountains region, westward expansion of Laurentia was accomplished by accretion of arc terranes to the North American craton prior to Late Jurassic time.
This document was originally published by The University of Chicago Press in The Journal of Geology. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1086/681724
LaMaskin, Todd A.; Dorsey, Rebecca J.; Vervoort, Jeffrey D.; Schmitz, Mark D.; Tumpane, Kyle P.; and Moore, Nicholas O.. (2015). "Westward Growth of Laurentia by Pre–Late Jurassic Terrane Accretion, Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho, United States". The Journal of Geology, 123(3), 233-267.