Abstract

The Middle Mountain Metamorphic Domain of the Montana Metasedimentary Terrane, northwestern Wyoming Craton, within the northwestern Tobacco Root Mountains, mainly comprises migmatized tonalitic gneiss interlayered with amphibolitic (hornblende) gneiss, both of which are cut by metamorphosed mafic rocks. Together, these gneisses are defined as Middle Mountain Gneiss. Archean tonalitic gneiss from west of, and amphibolitic gneiss from east of, the Bismark Fault give, from chemically and air-abraded zircon grains, U–Pb ID–TIMS ages of 3325.5 ± 1.7 and 3340 Ma, respectively. These results reflect primary magmatic ages and show that the Middle Mountain Gneiss extends into the northern area of the Central Fault Block, between the Bismark and Mammoth faults. Older crustal processes in the tonalitic gneiss are evidenced by inherited grains, the oldest of which is >3460 Ma. A metabasite hosted in tonalitic gneiss in the Bismark Fault selvage zone yields a zircon age of 2468 Ma, which is interpreted as the time of metamorphism. This date and other ca. 2470 Ma dates known in the region reflect a series of thermotectonic events designated here as the Beaverhead – Tobacco Root Orogeny. Geochemical evidence in the Central Fault Block metabasites suggests that their >2470 Ma precursors evolved in a back-arc – arc-rift setting, whereas their equivalents west of the Bismark Fault were largely mid-ocean ridge basalt-related tholeiites and east of the Central Fault Block were back-arc tholeiites showing some continental affinity. The metabasite was metamorphosed, deformed, and intruded by pegmatite at 1756 Ma during the Big Sky Orogeny. This orogenic event also produced new zircon growth in Archean tonalitic gneiss. Monazite with an age of 75 Ma, found at one location, reflects nearby intrusion of the Cretaceous Tobacco Root Batholith.

You do not currently have access to this article.