Discovery of Major Basement-Cored Uplifts in the Northern Galiuro Mountains, Southeastern Arizona: Implications for Regional Laramide Deformation Style and Structural Evolution

Daniel A. Favorito, Eric Seedorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Laramide orogeny is poorly understood in southeastern Arizona, largely because of complex structural overprinting by mid-Cenozoic extension that occurred over large areas. This study integrates new geological mapping with previous work, combined with structural reconstructions and forward modeling, to determine the primary structural style, timing, evolution, and kinematics of Laramide shortening in the northern Galiuro Mountains. Cenozoic normal faulting in the study area is minor and has only resulted in up to 13° of eastward tilting, as indicated by the gentle dips of synextensional strata. Detailed mapping has revealed newly identified reverse fault systems measuring at least 50 km in combined strike length. Each major fault strikes north-northwest, dips moderately to the west, places older rocks on younger, and has related fault-propagation folds. Once restored to their original orientation, reverse faults range in dip from 38° to 47°. These moderate dips of faults combined with related folds, the significant degree of basement involvement, and cover sequence lacking obvious penetrative deformation indicate that these faults are thick-skinned, basement-cored uplifts. Forward modeling and Cenozoic erosion surfaces suggest regionally extensive Laramide-age tilting to the west-southwest and gentle folding, possibly caused by a regional-scale reverse fault underlying the study area. These results are consistent with the interpretation that Laramide shortening in southeastern Arizona was primarily characterized by thick-skinned tectonics. Kinematic indicators, folded basement rocks, north-northwest strikes of reverse faults, and lack of evidence for basin inversion suggest that preexisting basement faults and fabrics had little or no effect on the subsequent structural evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3916-3940
Number of pages25
JournalTectonics
Volume37
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Laramide orogeny
  • basement-cored uplifts
  • fault reactivation
  • structural reconstruction
  • thick-skinned deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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