Late Cretaceous large-volume pluton emplacement and accompanying volcanism within the evolving western Montana thrust wedge may have played important roles in determining the geometric and kinematic development of the thrust wedge, thereby influencing patterns of sediment dispersal and subsidence in the adjacent foreland basin. Intrusion of the Upper Cretaceous Boulder batholith and coeval eruption of the Elkhorn Mountains Volcanics were focused mainly at the trailing margin of the Lombard-Eldorado allochthon. The resultant thick (16–17 km) igneous culmination evolved over a relatively short interval (80–70 Ma), thickening the orogenic wedge to the point of supercritical taper and facilitating continued motion along the Lombard-Eldorado thrust system, thrust imbrication at the wedge toe, and forelandward translation of the Helena salient. Delivery of eroded volcaniclastic detritus from the thickened thrust wedge and accelerated basin subsidence due to thrust loading resulted in accumulation of a thick (4–5 km) sequence of Campanian-Maastrichtian volcaniclastic strata in the foreland basin (Livingston Group). The structural and sedimentological effects of this structural-magmatic culmination are similar to those of basement-cored culminations elsewhere in the Sevier orogen and to the Neogene central Andean orogenic wedge.

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