The structural evolution of southeast Arizona has been dominated by the differential vertical uplift of the Precambrian and Triassic-Jurassic granites. Most of the ranges are complex anticlines with Precambrian or Triassic-Jurassic granites in their core. Some uplifts exceed 20.000 feet. Many of the ranges began to rise in Triassic-Jurassic time and have continued to rise intermittently in essentially the same position through at least Miocene time. This conclusion is supported by (1) truncation of Paleozoic strata on the flanks of the present ranges in pre-Lower Cretaceous time, (2) depositional thinning of Cretaceous strata down the flanks of the present ranges, and the development of Cretaceous basins adjacent to and parallel to incipient ranges rising in Cretaceous time, (3) high-angle “Laramide” reverse faults which define the flanks of present ranges and uplift the granite cores with respect to the schist which underlies the range flanks, and (4) “Basin and Range” type faulting which further developed uplifts already in existence.
Overthrusting has probably been overemphasized, primarily because of a failure to discriminate between large overthrusts and detached blocks which have moved down the flanks of large anticlines under the influence of gravity. This conclusion is based on recognition of a possible source and an available declivity, and, in particular, on a study of the internal structures of the detached blocks which has commonly shown that the blocks moved down the mountain flank rather than out of the valley onto the uplifted mountain block.
Of interest to petroleum geologists are the structural and stratigraphic variations along the flanks of the intermittently rising anticlines and the comparatively simple structure which may exist in the intervening valleys.
Figures & Tables
Backbone of the Americas: Tectonic History from Pole to Pole
The first article in this book is the address that introduced the technical program of the 46th Annual Meeting of the AAPG. The organization and presentation of this symposium volume was developed in an orderly geographic continuity. Modern concepts of structural form and the sequence of tectonic events are carefully reported all along the mountainous western margins of the American continents. The relationship of this structural knowledge to the accumulation of oil and gas is constantly emphasized in the 26 papers contained herein.