The Crooked Creek mylonite, in the northwestern Madison Range, southwestern Montana, is defined by several curved lenses of high non-coaxial strain exposed over a 7-km-wide, northeast-trending strip. The country rocks, part of the Archean Wyoming province, are dominantly trondhjemitic to granitic orthogneiss with subordinate amphibolite, quartzite, aluminous gneiss, and sills of metabasite (mafic granulite). Data presented here support an interpretation that the mylonite formed during a period of rapid, heterogeneous strain at near-peak metamorphic conditions during an early deformational event (D1) caused by northwest–southeast-directed transpression. The mylonite has a well-developed L-S tectonite fabric and a fine-grained, recrystallized (granoblastic) texture. The strong linear fabric, interpreted as the stretching direction, is defined by elongate compositional “fish,” fold axes, aligned elongate minerals, and mullion axes. The margins of the mylonitic zones are concordant with and grade into regions of unmylonitized gneiss. A second deformational event (D2) has folded the mylonite surface to produce meter- to kilometer-scale, tight-to-isoclinal, gently plunging folds in both the mylonite and country rock, and represents a northwest–southeast shortening event. Planar or linear fabrics associated with D2 are remarkably absent. A third regional deformational event (D3) produced open, kilometer-scale folds generally with gently north-plunging fold axes.
Thermobarometric measurements presented here indicate that metamorphic conditions during D1 were the same in both the mylonite and the country gneiss, reaching upper amphibolite- to lower granulite-facies conditions: 700 ± 50° C and 8.5 ± 0.5 kb. Previous geochronological studies of mylonitic and cross-cutting rocks in the Jerome Rock Lake area, east of the Crooked Creek mylonite, bracket the timing of this high-grade metamorphism and mylonitization between 2.78 and 2.56 Ga, nearly a billion years before the 1.78-Ga Big Sky orogeny, which overprinted the basement rocks exposed in adjacent ranges of the Wyoming province.