U-Pb detrital zircon data of the Rio Fuerte Formation (NW Mexico): Its peri-Gondwanan provenance and exotic nature in relation to southwestern North America

Ricardo Vega-Granillo, Sergio Salgado-Souto, Saúl Herrera-Urbina, Víctor Valencia, Joaquín Ruiz, Diana Meza-Figueroa, Oscar Talavera-Mendoza

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U-Pb detrital zircon studies in the Rio Fuerte Group, NW Mexico, establish its depositional tectonic setting and its exotic nature in relation to the North American craton. Two metasedimentary samples of the Rio Fuerte Formation yield major age clusters at 453-508 Ma, 547-579 Ma, 726-606 Ma, and sparse quantities of older zircons. The cumulative age plots are quite different from those arising from lower Paleozoic miogeoclinal rocks of southwestern North America and of Cordilleran Paleozoic exotic terranes such as Golconda and Robert Mountains. The relative age-probability plots are similar to some reported from the Mixteco terrane in southern Mexico and from some lower Paleozoic Gondwanan sequences, but they differ from those in the Gondwanan-affinity Oaxaca terrane. Major zircon age clusters indicate deposition in an intraoceanic basin located between a Late Ordovician magmatic arc and either a peri-Gondwanan terrane or northern Gondwanaland. The U-Pb magmatic ages of 151 ± 3 Ma from a granitic pluton and 155 ± 4 Ma from a granitic sill permit a revision of the stratigraphic and tectonic evolution of the Rio Fuerte Group. A regional metamorphism event predating the Late Jurassic magmatism is preliminarily ascribed to the Late Permian amalgamation of Laurentia and Gondwana. The Late Jurassic magmatism, deformation, and regional metamorphism are related to the Nevadan Orogeny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-354
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008



  • Late Ordovician
  • Northwestern Mexico
  • Peri-Gondwanan
  • Provenance
  • U-Pb geochronology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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