Abstract

Growth of Proterozoic continental lithosphere in the southwestern United States involved assembly of tectonostratigraphic terranes during several pulses of convergent tectonism ca. 1.74, 1.70, and 1.65-1.60 Ga. Prograde metamorphism accompanied orogenic assembly, and peak metamorphic conditions outlasted deformation. Regions now characterized by the highest metamorphic grades underwent slow isobaric cooling and were not uplifted until more than 200 m.y. after assembly. Regions of low metamorphic grade were not uplifted substantially after assembly. We suggest that (1) relatively thin lithospheric fragments were assembled into isostatically stable, "normal" thickness continental lithosphere; (2) assembly did not erase lithospheric-scale heterogeneities; (3) the present juxtaposition of different crustal levels reflects differential uplift related to 1.4-1.1 Ga tectonomagmatic activity; and (4) the boundaries between different lithospheric blocks were repeatedly reactivated from Precambrian through Tertiary time.

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