Abstract

U-Pb ages and Nd isotope values of Proterozoic rocks in Sonora, Mexico, indicate the presence of Caborca-type basement, predicted to lie only south of the Mojave-Sonora mega-shear, 40 km north of the postulated megashear. Granitoids have U-Pb zircon ages of 1763–1737 Ma and 1076 Ma, with ϵNd(t) values from +1.4 to −4.3, typical of the Caborca block. Lower Jurassic strata near the Proterozoic rocks contain large granitic clasts with U-Pb ages and ϵNd(t) values indistinguishable from those of Caborcan basement. Caborca-type basement was thus present at this location north of the megashear by 190 Ma, the depositional age of the Jurassic strata. The Proterozoic rocks are interpreted as parautochthonous, exhumed and juxtaposed against the Mesozoic section by a reverse fault that formed a footwall shortcut across a Jurassic normal fault. Geochronology, isotope geochemistry, and structural geology are therefore inconsistent with Late Jurassic megashear displacement and require either that no major transcurrent structure is present in Sonora or that strike-slip displacement occurred prior to Early Jurassic time.

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