Abstract

Detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology and Hf isotope geochemistry provide new insights into the provenance, sedimentary transport, and tectonic evolution of the Roberts Mountains allochthon strata of north-central Nevada. Using laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, a total of 1151 zircon grains from six Ordovician to Devonian arenite samples were analyzed for U-Pb ages; of these, 228 grains were further analyzed for Hf isotope ratios. Five of the units sampled have similar U-Pb age peaks and Hf isotope ratios, while the ages and ratios of the Ordovician lower Vinini Formation are significantly different. Comparison of our data with that of igneous basement rocks and other sedimentary units supports our interpretation that the lower Vinini Formation originated in the north-central Laurentian craton. The other five units sampled, as well as Ordovician passive margin sandstones of the western Laurentian margin, had a common source in the Peace River Arch region of western Canada. We propose that the Roberts Mountains allochthon strata were deposited near the Peace River Arch region, and subsequently tectonically transported south along the Laurentian margin, from where they were emplaced onto the craton during the Antler orogeny.

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