Detrital Zircon Evidence for Non-Laurentian Provenance, Mesoproterozoic (ca. 1490-1450 Ma) Deposition and Orogenesis in a Reconstructed Orogenic Belt, Northern New Mexico, USA: Defining the Picuris Orogeny

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Detrital zircon and igneous zircon U-Pb ages are reported from Proterozoic metamorphic rocks in northern New Mexico. These data give new insight into the provenance and depositional age of a >3-km-thick metasedimentary succession and help resolve the timing of orogenesis within an area of overlapping accretionary orogens and thermal events related to the Proterozoic tectonic evolution of southwest Laurentia. Three samples from the Paleoproterozoic Vadito Group yield narrow, unimodal detrital zircon age spectra with peak ages near 1710 Ma. Igneous rocks that intrude the Vadito Group include the Cerro Alto metadacite, the Picuris Pueblo granite, and the Penasco quartz monzonite and yield crystallization ages of 1710 +/- 10 Ma, 1699 +/- 3 Ma, and 1450 +/- 10 Ma, respectively. Within the overlying Hondo Group, a metamorphosed tuff layer from the Pilar Formation yields an age of 1488 +/- 6 Ma and represents the first direct depositional age constraint on any part of the Proterozoic metasedimentary succession in northern New Mexico. Detrital zircon from the overlying Piedra Lumbre Formation yield a minimum age peak of 1475 Ma, and similar to 60 grains (similar to 25%) yield ages between 1500 Ma and 1600 Ma, possibly representing non-Laurentian detritus originating from Australia and/or Antarctica. Detrital zircons from the basal metaconglomerate and the middle quartzite member of the Marquenas Formation yield minimum age peaks of 1472 Ma and 1471 Ma, consistent with earlier results. We interpret the onset of ca. 1490-1450 Ma deposition followed by tectonic burial, regional Al2SiO5 triple-point metamorphism, and ductile deformation at depths of 12-18 km to reflect a Mesoproterozoic contractional orogenic event, possibly related to the final suturing of the Mazatzal crustal province to the southern margin of Laurentia. We propose to call this event the Picuris orogeny.


Geological Society of America Bulletin





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Geology & Environmental Geosciences

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