The Salmon River suture zone of western Idaho (USA) records mid-crustal metamorphism and deformation associated with orogenesis during Mesozoic accretion of volcanic arc terranes to western Laurentia. We present petrographic and microstructural observations, garnet geochemistry, pressure-temperature isochemical phase diagrams, and Sm-Nd garnet and U-Pb zircon ages to investigate the timing and conditions of metamorphism in the Salmon River suture zone. The Salmon River suture zone is comprised of three thrust sheets: from east to west, the amphibolite facies Pollock Mountain plate, upper greenschist to amphibolite facies Rapid River plate, and greenschist facies Heavens Gate plate. The Pollock Mountain plate was isothermally loaded from 6 to >8 kbar at ∼700 °C between 141 and 124 Ma during northwest-southeast crustal shortening. The underlying Rapid River plate was isothermally loaded from 7 to ∼10 kbar at 600-650 °C during ca. 124-112 Ma metamorphism, which is contemporaneous with late- to post-peak metamorphism and ca. 118 Ma exhumation of the overlying Pollock Mountain plate. In the Rapid River plate, thrust sheet emplacement induced high-strain ductile deformation and led to regional development of linear-planar fabrics. The 206Pb/238U zircon ages for syndeformational to postdeformational magmatism record ca. 117 Ma or younger juxtaposition of the two plates on the southeast-dipping Pollock Mountain thrust fault. Coeval 124-112 Ma metamorphism of the Rapid River plate, ca. 118 Ma exhumation of the Pollock Mountain plate, and ca. 117 Ma or younger movement along the Pollock Mountain fault suggest that metamorphism of the Rapid River plate was possibly driven in part by thrust juxtaposition and loading along the Pollock Mountain fault. In this context, we interpret that metamorphism records diachronous thrust stacking during prolonged (>30 m.y.) accretionary orogenesis in western Idaho.
Published by The Geological Society of America as open access.
McKay, Matthew P., Elizabeth M. Bollen, Keith D. Gray, Harold H. Stowell, and Joshua J. Schwartz. "Prolonged metamorphism during long-lived terrane accretion: Sm-Nd garnet and U-Pb zircon geochronology and pressure-temperature paths from the Salmon River suture zone, west-central Idaho, USA." Lithosphere 9, no. 5 (2017): 683-701.