Abstract

This study assesses early Mesozoic provenance linkages and paleogeographic-tectonic models for the western United States based on new petrographic and detrital zircon data from Triassic and Jurassic sandstones of the “Izee” and Olds Ferry terranes of the Blue Mountains Province, northeastern Oregon. Triassic sediments were likely derived from the Baker terrane offshore accretionary subduction complex and are dominated by Late Archean (ca. 2.7–2.5 Ga), Late Paleoproterozoic (ca. 2.2–1.6 Ga), and Paleozoic (ca. 380–255 Ma) detrital zircon grains. These detrital ages suggest that portions of the Baker terrane have a genetic affinity with other Cordilleran accretionary subduction complexes of the western United States, including those in the Northern Sierra and Eastern Klamath terranes. The abundance of Precambrian grains in detritus derived from an offshore complex highlights the importance of sediment reworking. Jurassic sediments are dominated by Mesozoic detrital ages (ca. 230–160 Ma), contain significant amounts of Paleozoic (ca. 290, 380–350, 480–415 Ma), Neoproterozoic (ca. 675–575 Ma), and Mesoproterozoic grains (ca. 1.4–1.0 Ga), and have lesser quantities of Late Paleoproterozoic grains (ca. 2.1–1.7 Ga). Detrital zircon ages in Jurassic sediments closely resemble well-documented age distributions in transcontinental sands of Ouachita-Appalachian provenance that were transported across the southwestern United States and modified by input from cratonal, miogeoclinal, and Cordilleran-arc sources during Triassic and Jurassic time. Jurassic sediments likely were derived from the Cordilleran arc and an orogenic highland in Nevada that yielded recycled sand from uplifted Triassic backarc basin deposits. Our data suggest that numerous Jurassic Cordilleran basins formed close to the Cordilleran margin and support a model for moderate post-Jurassic translation (∼400 km) of the Blue Mountains Province.

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