An early Cambrian rift to post-rift transition in the Cordillera of western North America

Abstract

The upper Proterozoic and lower Palaeozoic wedge of miogeoclinal strata in the North American Cordillera is widely regarded as evidence for a proto-Pacific passive margin1–3. The rifting history of this margin appears to have been protracted, possibly spanning >200 Myr in a tectonic setting that is not well understood3. Quantitative subsidence analyses of lower Palaeozoic strata between British Columbia and Utah, however, provide indirect evidence that the transition from rifting to post-rift cooling occurred within a relatively short interval of time, although probably not synchronously, between 600 and 555 Myr (refs 4–6). This age is significantly younger than that implied in previous studies1,2. We describe here new field data, which, together with published geological data, provide direct evidence of a latest Proterozoic or early Cambrian age for the rift to post-rift transition. The data support recent arguments for widespread initiation of passive margins around the edge of the North American craton close to the Cambrian–Precambrian boundary7.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Stewart, J. H. Geology 4, 11–15 (1976).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Gabrielse, H. Am. J. Sci. 272, 521–536 (1972).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Monger, J. W. H. & Price, R. A. Can. J. Earth Sci. 16, 770–791 (1979).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Bond, G. C. & Kominz, M. A. Bull. geol. Soc. Am. 95, 155–173 (1984).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Bond, G. C., Kominz, M. A. & Devlin, W. J. Nature 306, 75–779 (1983).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Armin, R. A. & Mayer, L. Geology 11, 702–705 (1983).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Bond, G. C., Nickeson, P. A., & Kominz, M. A. Earth planet. Sci. Lett. 70, 325–346 (1984).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Miller, F. K., McKee, E. H. & Yates, R. G. Bull. geol. Soc. Am. 84, 3723–3730 (1973).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Cochran, J. R. Earth planet. Sci. Lett. 66, 289–302 (1983).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    McMechan, M. E. thesis. Queen's Univ., Kingston, Canada (1980).

  11. 11

    Armstrong, R. L., Eisbacher, G. H. & Evans, P. D. Can. J. Earth Sci. 19, 316–323 (1982).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Devlin, W. J. & Bond, G. C. Geol. Ass. Can. Prog. Abstr. 8, A17 (1984).

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Young, F. G. Geol. Surv. Can. Bull. 288 (1976).

  14. 14

    Poulton, T. P. & Simony, P. S. Can. J. Earth Sci. 17, 1708–1724 (1980).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Simony, P. S. & Wind, G. Geol. Ass. Can. spec. Pap. 6, 41–51 (1970).

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Wheeler, J. O. Geol. Surv. Can. Pap. 6–32 (1963).

  17. 17

    Bond, G. C. Geol. Ass. Can. Prog. Abstr. 8, A8 (1983).

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Mountjoy, E. W. & Aitken, J. D. Bull. Can. Petrol. Geol. 11, 161–168 (1983).

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Fritz, W. H. & Mountjoy, E. W. Can. J. Earth Sci. 12, 119–131 (1975).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Harland, W. B. et al. A Geologic Time Scale (Cambridge University Press, 1983).

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Crittenden, M. D. Jr & Wallace, C. A. in Belt Symp. Vol. 1, 116–138 (University of Idaho and Idaho Bureau of Mines Geology, 1973).

  22. 22

    Diehl, P. Calif. Div. Mines Geol. Spec. Rep. 106, 51–62 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Crittenden, M. D. Jr U.S. geol Surv. Map GQ-968 (1972).

  24. 24

    Stewart, J. H. U.S. geol. Surv. prof. Pap. 620(1970).

  25. 25

    Wertz, W. E. in Geol. Soc. Am. 78th A. Meet. Guidebk, Anaheim, California (eds Cooper, J. D., Troxel, B. W. & Wright, L. A.) 165–170 (1982).

  26. 26

    Stewart, J. H. J. Res. U.S. geol. Surv. 2, 609–618 (1974).

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Crittenden, M. D. Jr, Schaeffer, F. E., Trimble, D. E. & Woodward, L. A. Bull. geol. Soc. Am. 82, 581–602 (1971).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Mount, J. F., Gevirtzman, D. A. & Signor, P. W. III Geology 11, 224–226 (1983).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29

    Abbott, J. T., Best, M. G. & Morris, H. T. U.S. geol. Surv. Misc. Inv. Ser. Map 1-1479 (1983).

  30. 30

    Morris, H. T. & Lovering, T. S. U.S. geol. Surv. prof. Pap. 361 (1961).

  31. 31

    Young, F. G. C. J. Earth Sci. 9, 1–17 (1972).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32

    Vidal, G. Grønl. Geol. Unders. Bull. 134 (1979).

  33. 33

    McMenamin, M. A. S., Awramik, S. M. & Stewart, J. H. Geology 11, 227–230 (1983).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34

    Stewart, J. H., McMenamin, M. A. S. & Morales-Ramirez, J. M. U. S. geol. Surv. prof. Pap. 1309 (1984).

  35. 35

    Hoy, T. B.C. Minist. Energy Mines Petrol. Res. Bull. 73 (1980).

  36. 36

    McKenzie, D. Earth planet. Sci. Lett. 40, 25–32 (1978).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37

    Palmer, A. R. in Cambrian of the New World (ed. Holland, C. H.) 1–78 (Wiley, New York, 1971).

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38

    Aitken, J. D. Geol. Surv. Can. Bull. (in the press).

  39. 39

    Price, R. A. & Fermor, P. R. Geol. Surv. Can. Open File Rep. 882 (1981).

  40. 40

    Campbell, R. B., Mountjoy, E. W. & Struick, L. C. Geol. Surv. Can. Open File Rep. 844 (1982).

  41. 41

    Price, R. A. Geol. Soc. Lond. spec. Publ. 9, 1–22 (1980).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42

    Price, R. A. & Mountjoy, E. W. Geol. Ass. Can. spec. Pap. 6, 7–25 (1970).

    Google Scholar 

  43. 43

    Mountjoy, E. W. Geol. Surv. Can. Pap. 61–31 (1962).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bond, G., Christie-Blick, N., Kominz, M. et al. An early Cambrian rift to post-rift transition in the Cordillera of western North America. Nature 315, 742–746 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1038/315742a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.