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The long-term burial and exhumation history of basement blocks in the footwall of the Wasatch Fault, Utah

Stephen T. Nelson, Ronald A. Harris, Bart J. Kowallis, Michael Dorais, Kurt N. Constenius, Matthew Heizler and Daniel Barnett
The long-term burial and exhumation history of basement blocks in the footwall of the Wasatch Fault, Utah
Rocky Mountain Geology (November 2009) 44 (2): 103-119


Thermochronologic studies of the Santaquin and Farmington Canyon crystalline basement complexes, exposed in the footwall of the Wasatch fault in Utah, provide rare opportunities to investigate the long-term tectonic, burial, and exhumation history of this region. Both complexes underwent amphibolite-facies metamorphism at approximately 1700 Ma, followed by a complex pressure-temperature-time history. By 740-770 Ma, exhumation had brought both complexes to the surface from a depth of approximately 9-10 km (3-3.5 kbar), followed by reburial by passive margin, Oquirrh Basin, and foreland basin sedimentation from Neoproterozoic through early Cretaceous time. The final structural pathway to present-day surface exposure of both complexes began in early Cretaceous time, with crustal contraction along the Sevier belt and resultant structural stacking. Structural breaching of the thrust culminations and final cooling of the crystalline complexes occurred as a result of Tertiary through Holocene extension and accompanying normal faulting. Inferred exhumation rates for the last 10-15 my are on the order of 0.3-0.6 mm/yr, although recent slip rates across the Wasatch fault appear to be several times higher. This suggests that: (1) periods of enhanced slip on the Wasatch fault from Miocene to present time may have been punctuated by periods of quiescence; and (2) the fault now may be experiencing an episode of rapid slip. Alternatively, strain may have been partitioned into multiple fault strands at a boundary between the Provo and Nephi segments.

ISSN: 1555-7332
EISSN: 1555-7340
Serial Title: Rocky Mountain Geology
Serial Volume: 44
Serial Issue: 2
Title: The long-term burial and exhumation history of basement blocks in the footwall of the Wasatch Fault, Utah
Affiliation: Brigham Young University, Department of Geological Sciences, Provo, UT, United States
Pages: 103-119
Published: 200911
Text Language: English
Publisher: University of Wyoming, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, Laramie, WY, United States
References: 66
Accession Number: 2010-009048
Categories: Structural geologyGeochronology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, geol. sketch map
N29°00'00" - N43°30'00", W122°00'00" - W102°30'00"
N37°00'00" - N42°00'00", W114°04'60" - W109°04'60"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Arizona, USA, United StatesNew Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, USA, United StatesParr Waddoups Brown Gee & Loveless, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, copyright, University of Wyoming. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201006
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