Early Inception of the Laramide Orogeny in Southwestern Montana and Northern Wyoming: Implications for Models of Flat‐Slab Subduction
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Geosci
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherAMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
CitationCarrapa, B., DeCelles, P. G., & Romero, M. ( 2019). Early inception of the Laramide orogeny in southwestern Montana and northern Wyoming: Implications for models of flat‐slab subduction. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124, 2102– 2123. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JB016888
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AbstractTiming and distribution of magmatism, deformation, exhumation, and basin development have been used to reconstruct the history of Laramide flat-slab subduction under North America during Late Cretaceous-early Cenozoic time. Existing geodynamic models, however, ignore a large (40,000-km(2)) sector of the Laramide foreland in southwestern Montana. The Montana Laramide ranges consist of Archean basement arches (fault-propagation folds) that were elevated by thrust and reverse faults. We present new thermochronological and geochronological data from six Laramide ranges in southwestern Montana (the Beartooth, Gravelly, Ruby and Madison Ranges, and the Tobacco Root and Highland Mountains) that show significant cooling and exhumation during the Early to mid-Cretaceous, much earlier than the record of Laramide exhumation in Wyoming. These data suggest that Laramide-style deformation-driven exhumation slightly predates the eastward sweep of magmatism in western Montana, consistent with geodynamic models involving initial strain propagation into North American cratonic rocks due to stresses associated with a northeastward expanding region of flat-slab subduction. Our results also indicate various degrees of Cenozoic heating and cooling possibly associated with westward rollback of the subducting Farallon slab, followed by Basin-and-Range extension. Plain Language Summary The Laramide region in the western U.S. is characterized by some of the highest topography in North America including the Wind River Range in WY and the Beartooth Range of WY and Montana. These ranges have fed detritus to surrounding basins for millions of years and contributed to modern ecosystems. These high topographic features and basins have significantly impacted paleoenvironmental conditions over geological time. The formation of these high-relief ranges has been linked to deep Earth, geodynamic, processes involving subduction of a flat slab under the North American Plate. Models of flat-slab subduction rely on the timing and pattern of deformation and exhumation of Laramide ranges, which remains poorly understood. Our study provides new data on the timing of deformation and exhumation of Laramide ranges in SW Montana and northern WY capable of testing current models of flat-slab subduction.
Note6 month embargo; published online: 9 January 2019
VersionFinal published version