Stratigraphy, geochronology, and geochemistry of the Laramide magmatic arc in north-central Sonora, Mexico

Carlos M. González-León, Luigi Solari, Jesús Solé, Mihai N. Ducea, Timothy F. Lawton, Juan Pablo Bernal, Elizard González Becuar, Floyd Gray, Margarita López Martínez, Rufino Lozano Santacruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The Laramide magmatic arc in the Arizpe-Mazocahui quadrangle of northcentral Sonora, Mexico, is composed of volcanic rocks assigned to the Tarahumara Formation and several granitic plutons that intrude it. The arc was built over juxtaposed crustal basements of the Caborca and Mazatzal provinces. A basal conglomerate of the >4-km-thick Tarahumara Formation overlies deformed Proterozoic igneous rocks and Neoproterozoic to Early Cretaceous strata, thus constraining the age of a contractional tectonic event that occurred between Cenomanian and early Campanian time. The lower part of the Tarahumara Formation is composed of rhyolitic ignimbrite and ash-fall tuffs, andesite flows, and interbedded volcani clastic strata, and its upper part consists of rhyolitic to dacitic ignimbrites, ash-fall tuffs, and volcani clastic rocks. The Tarahumara Formation shows marked lateral facies change within the study area, and further to the north it grades into the coeval fluvial and lacustrine Cabullona Group. The age of the Tarahumara Formation is between ca. 79 and 59 Ma; the monzonitic to granitic plutons have ages of ca. 71-50 Ma. The informally named El Babizo and Huépac granites, La Aurora and La Alamedita tonalities, and the Puerta del Sol granodiorite compose the El Jaralito batholith in the southern part of the area. Major and trace element composition of the Laramide igneous rocks shows calc-alkaline differentiation trends typical of continental magmatic arcs, and the isotope geochemistry indicates strong contribution from a mature continental crust. Initial 87Sr/86Sr values range from 0.70589 to 0.71369, and εNd values range from -6.2 to -13.6, except for the El Gueriguito quartz monzonite value, -0.5. The Nd, Sr, and Pb isotopic values of the studied Laramide rocks permit comparison with the previously defined Laramide isotopic provinces of Sonora and Arizona. The El Gueriguito pluton and Bella Esperanza granodiorite in the northeastern part of the study area along with plutons and mineralization of neighboring northern Sonora have isotopic values that correspond with those of the southeastern Arizona province formed over the Mazatzal basement (Lang and Titley, 1998; Bouse et al., 1999). Isotopic values of the other Laramide rocks throughout the study area are similar to values of provinces A and B of Sonora (Housh and McDowell, 2005) and to those of the Laramide Pb boundary zone of western Arizona, while the Rancho Vaquería and La Cubana plutons in the northernmost part of the area have the isotopic composition of the Proterozoic Mojave province of the southwestern United States. These data permit us to infer that a covered crustal boundary, between the Caborca block with a basement of the Mojave or boundary zone and the Mazatzal province, crosses through the northeastern part of the area. The boundary may be placed between outcrops of the El Gueriguito and Rancho Vaquería plutons, probably following a reactivated Cretaceous thrust fault located north of the hypothesized Mojave-Sonora megashear, proposed to cross through the central part of the area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1418
Number of pages27
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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