U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of the coastal Sonora batholith: New insights on Laramide continental arc magmatism
The coastal Sonora batholith comprises a series of Cretaceous granitoids that intruded a metasedimentary basement of possible Mesozoic age. They are partially covered by Tertiary volcanic flows and pyroclastic rocks. In order to elucidate the crystallization and cooling history of the granitoids, nine rock samples were collected from Bahía Kino to Punta Tepopa. Eight samples dated by U-Pb zircon geochronology show that the Coastal Sonora batholith was emplaced during the Late Cretaceous, between
90.1 ± 1.1 and 69.4 ± 1.2 Ma. The interval of ~20 Ma between the different stages of crystallization indicate that magmatism was relatively static within coastal Sonora, although the magmatic arc recorded an eastward migration as a whole during Cretaceous and Paleogene. In addition, three of these samples were also dated by 40Ar/39Ar in biotite and K-feldspar separates. Ages vary from ~74 to 67 Ma in biotite and from ~68 to 42 Ma in K-feldspar. We interpret these ages as the cooling progression of the batholith, associated with exhumation of the region before the Basin and Range extension. Furthermore, these results show a local trend towards younger ages to the north of the batholith, and they are in good agreement with the model of a general eastward migration of the Cretaceous-Tertiary magmatic arc in northwestern Mexico. In general, the available ages suggest that the arc moved slowly across Baja California between 140 and 105 Ma, and continued its eastward migration across the eastern portion of Baja California and Sonora between 105 and ~60 Ma. According to the isotopic ages, the Coastal Sonora batholith would be the westernmost part of the Laramide magmatic event (~90 – 40 Ma). Thus, on the basis of new and available geochronologic, petrographic, and geochemical data, we propose that the Coastal Sonora batholith and the eastern portion of the Peninsular Ranges batholith belong to a single magmatic arc, which was separated during the continental breakup and rifting of the Gulf of California in the Tertiary.
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