Abstract

The Mount Evans batholith, in the central Front Range of Colorado, is composed of a main phase of massive to conspicuously foliated monzogranite and granodiorite and undeformed aplite and pegmatite. The Mount Evans batholith was previously considered to be part of the 1.7 Ga Routt Plutonic Suite. New U-Pb zircon ages on four samples (granodiorite, monzogranite, and granite), however, indicate that the batholith was emplaced at 1,442 ± 2 Ma and belongs to the Berthoud Plutonic Suite. Most of the batholith has igneous textures and structures, except in the vicinity of the Idaho Springs-Ralston shear zone where those features are tectonically recrystallized and foliated. Foliation elsewhere in the batholith is a flow structure.

Zircons in two granodiorite samples, collected near the shear zone (just south of the Colorado Mineral Belt), are reversely discordant by about 0.8%-2.1%, with a considerable spread in 207Pb/206Pb ages. Many of the zircons from these samples contain apatite, K-feldspar, and quartz inclusions that appear to replace zircon along cracks and imperfections from rim to core. We suggest that these inclusions formed during a Laramide ore-forming event and incorporated Early and Middle Proterozoic radiogenic lead scavenged from the country rock. The excess radiogenic lead caused the scatter and reverse discordance in the data.

The Mount Evans batholith is anomalous in composition and structure compared to most other 1.4 Ga plutons of the southwestern United States. The differences probably reflect different sources of partial melting; the specific tectonic setting where rocks of such disparate origin are temporally and spatially juxtaposed is not understood.

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