Geochronologic and stratigraphic constraints on the Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic Pahrump Group, Death Valley, California: A record of the assembly, stability, and breakup of Rodinia

Robert C. Mahon, Carol M. Dehler, Paul K. Link, Karl E. Karlstrom, George E. Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Pahrump Group in the Death Valley region of eastern California records a rich history of Mesoproterozoic to Neoproterozoic tectonic, climatic, and biotic events. These include the formation, stability, and onset of rifting of the Rodinia supercontinent, two potentially low-latitude glaciations correlative with global "snowball Earth" glacial intervals, and the onset of complex microbiota (e.g., testate amoebae). Poor direct age control, however, has signifi cantly hindered the progress of understanding of these important stratigraphic units. New LA-ICPMS (laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) detrital zircon data from clastic units directly overlying a major unconformity within the Mesoprotero zoic Crystal Spring Formation provide a maximum depo si tional age of 787 ± 11 Ma for the upper member of the Crystal Spring Formation. This unconformity, representing a duration of ≥300 Ma, is now recognized in sedimentary successions across southwestern Laurentia. These new age data, in addition to the distinct stratigraphic style above and below the unconformity, result in the proposed formal stratigraphic revision to elevate the upper member of the Crystal Spring Formation to the Neo protero zoic Horse Thief Springs Formation and separate it from the remainder of the underlying Mesoproterozoic Crystal Spring Formation (ca. 1100 Ma). New age relations and revised stratigraphic nomenclature significantly clarify stratigraphic and tectonic correlations and imply ca. 1250-1070 Ma assembly, 1070-780 Ma stability, and 780-600 Ma breakup of the super continent Rodinia along the southwestern Laurentian margin

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-664
Number of pages13
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Volume126
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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