Abstract

The Middle Precambrian diabase dikes of the Highland Range in southwestern Montana are moderate- to high-TiO2 continental tholeiites and are related along a differentiation trend involving strong iron enrichment. Postmagmatic metamorphism and K, Rb, and Sr metasomatism have altered the chemical composition of the igneous rocks of some of the samples. The metamorphic assemblage in the diabase dikes belongs to the low-pressure calcic plagioclase – actinolite hornfels facies, and we suggest that thermal effects associated with the intrusion of the Boulder Batholith are responsible for the metamorphic overprints in these rocks.Combined chemical data from the diabase dikes in the Highland Range, the Ruby Range, and the Tobacco Root Mountains produce smooth differentiation trends for most major oxides and trace elements, and we conclude that one magma was responsible for the dikes in the three ranges. Discrepancies in Rb–Sr age dates obtained for the dikes in the Tobacco Root Mountains can be explained if a Rb, Sr, and K metasomatic event like the one observed in the Highland Range had occurred in the Tobacco Root Mountains as well.Structurally, the diabase dikes in the Highland Range intruded into both east–west- and northwest-trending fractures at the same time. All dikes dip steeply to the north or northeast and are believed to have intruded into tensionally opened fractures related to the opening of the Belt Basin.

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