The Presence of a Stable Block bounded by Active Zones (Mobile Belts) in the southwestern North American Proterozoic craton

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Philip Goodell1, Carlos Martinez P.2 and Munazzam Ali Mahar1, (1)University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, United States, (2)Coeur Mining, Inc., Coeur d'Alene, ID, United States
Bouguer gravity data, initial Sr isotope values, zircon U–Pb, and multiple occurrences of felsic Proterozoic rocks, have revealed an elevated, less deformed, felsic cratonic block in the northern Mexico. The block is situated in western Chihuahua and is bounded by active zones or mobile belts on three sides, and is here referred to as the Western Chihuahua Cratonic Block (WCCB). Bouguer gravity data clearly indicate a region of a highly negative anomaly (< -200 mgal) in contrast to adjoining areas. The region is large and the anomaly is relatively smooth over broad areas; the WCCB appears as a smaller version of the Colorado Plateau. The block is characterized by high initial Sr isotope ratios (<0.706). Several occurrences of Proterozoic rocks are located within or next to the WCCB, and they reveal the character of the Bouguer anomaly. On the east, at Los Filtros, Proterozoic rocks crop out in a basement cored uplift interpreted to having been derived from the WCCB during the Ouachita orogeny. At Sierra La Mojina boulders of 1.1 Ga granites are found in Permian conglomerates. And at Basasiachic, xenoliths of 1.1 Ga granites are present in ash flow tuffs. Establishment of the Precambrian character of the WCCB is of importance, and these multiple occurrences are evidence. Prior studies of the Sierra Madre Occidental suggest that the region was uplifted because of a vast Cenozoic batholith presumed to lie under the SLIP (Silicic Large Igneous Province), the Upper Volcanic Series. The present study challenges that conclusion and maintains the SMO is underlain by Proterozoic silicic crust. The geology of age dated samples supports this. The WCCB is surrounded on three sides by Active Zones or Mobile Belts, which have been active extensional and translational zones periodically over a long period of time. On the east are the Paleozoic Pedrogosa Basin, Mesozoic Chihuahua Trough and Cenozoic Rio Grande Rift, the first two of which also continue around the northern border of the block. On the west are the Paleozoic Sonora embayment and Mesozoic Sahuaripa basin. A possible model for the origin of the WCCB is that it was an integral part of the North American Proterozoic craton but has been displaced from North America by multiple episodes of extension associated with the mobile belts.