A Guide to the Geology of Catalina State Park and the Western Santa Catalina Mountains
Canyon Loop Trail
Romero Canyon Trail
Alamo Canyon Trail
Cañada del Oro
Santa Catalina Mountains
Catalina State Park
Wilderness Suite Granite
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CitationBezy, J.V., 2002, A Guide to the Geology of Catalina State Park and the Western Santa Catalina Mountains. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth Series DTE-12, 57 p.
DescriptionThe northwestern margin of the Santa Catalina Mountains, located within Catalina State Park and the adjacent Coronado National Forest, contains a variety of spectacular geologic features (Map A). Because of the relatively sparse desert vegetation, all of them are easy to recognize and photograph. Some of these features occur throughout much of the western United States. Others are unique to landscapes produced by the weathering and erosion of granite. This booklet is your field guide to the geology of this splendid desert landscape. It is a hiker’s guide; excursions on foot to the geologic features described in the text are encouraged. This book is written for the visitor who has an interest in geology, but may not have had formal training in the subject. It may also help ensure that the visiting geologist does not overlook some of the features described. To set the stage, I have briefly described the area’s geologic setting and geologic history. In the following pages, emphasis is given to descriptions of geologic features that are common in this landscape. Precise locations are provided for those features that have more limited distribution. Includes more than 30 images and illustrations and six maps.
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Structural evolution of the northeastern Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona: A glimpse of the pre-extension history of the Catalina complex.Bykerk-Kauffman, Ann (The University of Arizona., 1990)The Catalina complex, like the other Cordilleran metamorphic core complexes, experienced an episode of profound middle Tertiary extension that resulted in low-angle mylonite zones and detachment faults. However, the northern and eastern parts of the complex escaped significant middle Tertiary deformation and preserved a record of the complicated Mesozoic and early Cenozoic tectonic history that preceded middle Tertiary extension. A detailed examination of the northeastern Santa Catalina Mountains and a reconnaissance study of the rest of the Catalina complex reveal evidence for Cretaceous-earliest Tertiary (Laramide) thrusting and an enigmatic episode of early Tertiary (Eocene?) magmatic intrusion, metamorphism and ductile deformation. Laramide thrusting is represented by the Edgar and Youtcy thrusts. The Edgar thrust, a southwest(?)-vergent bedding-subparallel fault that repeats 300-500 m of section, is intruded by the 64 Ma Leatherwood Quartz Diorite. The northeast(?)-vergent Youtcy thrust repeats at least 1300 m of section and is intruded by the Eocene(?) Wilderness Granite. The early Tertiary orogenic event is represented in the northeastern Santa Catalina Mountains by the Eocene(?) Wilderness Granite, its metamorphic aureole, widespread low-grade metamorphism, bedding-subparallel foliations, east-trending lineations, and several bedding-subparallel stretching(?) faults that omit strata. Numerous kinematic indicators show that the ductile deformation involved top-to-the-east shear. Cross-cutting relationships between the foliation, the faults and the Wilderness Granite and coincident gradients in strain magnitude, metamorphic grade, rock ductility, and fault offset demonstrate that intrusion, metamorphism, ductile flow and faulting were all contemporaneous and that the heat source for the metamorphism and ductile flow was the Wilderness Granite. Evidence for the early Tertiary event extends into the rest of the Catalina complex but lineation trends and shear directions vary considerably from region to region. Furthermore, abundant steep east-striking foliations within the Wilderness Granite batholith appear to have formed during this event. The tectonic significance of the early Tertiary orogenic episode is unclear. Three hypotheses may explain the wide variety of early Tertiary structures: forceful diapiric intrusion of the Wilderness Granite, late-stage Laramide thrusting imposed on a tilted section, or early-stage crustal extension.