Transfer of the Argentine Precordillera terrane from Laurentia: Constraints from detrital-zircon geochronology

William A. Thomas, Ricardo A. Astini, Paul A. Mueller, George E. Gehrels, Joseph L. Wooden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Ages from U-Pb and 207Pb/206Pb analyses of detrital zircons from synrift sandstone in the Lower Cambrian Cerro Totora Formation of the Argentine Precordillera have strong similarities to those from late synrift sandstones in the Lower Cambrian Rome Formation of southern Laurentia (Alabama). Ages of detrital zircons from the Cerro Totora sample cluster at 1160-970 Ma (60% of analyzed zircons , 1490-1300 Ma (24%), and 1890-1640 Ma (16%). Ages from two Rome samples cluster at 1240-970 Ma (32% of analyzed zircons), 1540-1270 Ma (31%), 1840-1610 Ma (14%), 1970-1890 Ma (5%), and 2930-2310 Ma (18%). The ages of detrital zircons from the Rome and Cerro Totora sandstones are consistent with sediment supply from the Grenville and older Proterozoic Laurentian provinces, and the older cluster in the Rome sandstones corresponds in age to the Laurentian Archean Superior province. Neither the Rome nor Cerro Totora samples include components younger than Grenville, and the lack of zircons from distinctly Gondwanan provinces is consistent with a Laurentian provenance. The detrital-zircon ages support previous interpretations that the Precordillera was rifted from the Ouachita embayment of Laurentia during Early Cambrian time and subsequently was transferred to Gondwana.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-968
Number of pages4
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Argentine Precordillera
  • Continental rifting
  • Detrital-zircon geochronology
  • Laurentia
  • Terrane transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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