Proterozoic rocks in northern and central New Mexico underwent simultaneous metamorphism and deformation, tentatively dated at 1410 Ma. Structural relationships record a minimum of 20%–30% shortening during the latter part of deformation, and chemical zoning in garnet and plagioclase indicates a 20% increase in depth of burial during the same interval. Locally, deformation thickened the upper continental crust by at least 20%. This crustal thickening was distributed over a broad area and caused rocks across 75 000 km2 to recrystallize at peak metamorphic conditions near 525 °C and 4 kbar. The metamorphic terrane cooled isobarically, at rates less than 5 °C/m.y. Such slow cooling may be normal at middle crustal depths. Preservation of the regionally uniform peak metamorphic conditions reflects an unusual tectonic history: heat from the metamorphic event outlasted deformation, and the terrane was not subjected to rapid uplift following its thermal peak.

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