Abstract

The western Idaho suture zone juxtaposes continental and oceanic terranes with distinctive Sr and Nd isotopic signatures across a sharp isotopic transition coincident with the Mesozoic 87Sr/86Sr = 0.706 line (MSL). Late Cretaceous to Eocene granitic plutons that define the MSL are allochthonous and were transported eastward by ∼150 km during late Mesozoic to Tertiary (ca. 100-55 Ma) thrusting. Sr and Nd isotopic compositions of Neogene rhyolites and basalts from southwestern Idaho, southeastern Oregon, and northern Nevada define isotopic transitions coincident with the MSL; there are continental affinities east of long 116°30′W and oceanic affinities west of 119°W. Between these longitudes, intermediate isotopic compositions imply derivation of magmas from both continental and oceanic mantle (basalts) and crustal (rhyolites) sources. It is inferred that the basal decollement of the Mesozoic and Tertiary contractional orogen dips westward below depths of segregation of basaltic magmas, and that oceanic lithospheric mantle was thrust eastward over a shelf of old, isotopically evolved continental lithospheric mantle that now protrudes ∼150 km west of the MSL.

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