Insights into North American Paleogeography and Paleotectonics from U-Pb ages of detrital zircons in Mesozoic strata of the Colorado Plateau, USA

William R. Dickinson, George E. Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individual U-Pb ages for 5,655 detrital zircons (DZ) in 61 sandstone samples from Mesozoic strata of the Colorado Plateau and nearby areas provide insights into paleogeographic relations across the interior of North America and the paleotectonic evolution of North American continental margins. Pre-Mesozoic DZ grains derived either directly, or ultimately through sediment recycling, from distant sources in eastern North America are more abundant than DZ grains derived from the nearby Cordilleran magmatic arc of western North America. Sediment dispersal patterns included Triassic fluvial transport of detritus westward from the Ouachita orogen uplifted along the northern flank of rift highlands precursor to the oceanic Gulf of Mexico, Jurassic eolian transport southward into widespread ergs from deflation of floodplains of transcontinental paleorivers with headwaters in pre-Atlantic Appalachian highlands, and Jurassic-Cretaceous recycling of eolianite DZ from retroarc Sevier thrust sheets and from sedimentary cover of the Mogollon paleohighlands flanking the Border rift system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1265
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume99
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Colorado Plateau
  • Detrital zircon
  • Mesozoic
  • North America
  • Paleogeography
  • Paleotectonics
  • U-Pb geochronology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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