Evolution of the Central Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico- New Potassium-Argon Ages

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Journal Article: Evolution of the Central Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico- New Potassium-Argon Ages

Abstract
New Ksingle bondAr age determinations on mid-Oligocene to Pleistocene volcanic and shallow intrusive rocks from the central Rio Grande rift permit a more detailed understanding of the tectonic and magmatic history of the rift. Initial extension in the region of the central rift may have begun prior to 27 m.y. ago. By 25 m.y. ago broad basins existed and were filling with volcaniclastic sediments derived mainly from volcanic centers in the San Juan and Questa areas. Continued tectonic activity narrowed these basins by 21-19 m.y. ago, indicated in the Santa Fe area by tilting and faulting that immediately postdate 20-m.y.-old latite. Uplift of the Sangre de Cristo, Sandia, and Nacimiento Mountains shed clastic debris of the Santa Fe Group into these basins. Early rift magmatism is characterized by an overlap of mid-Tertiary intermediate intrusive and extrusive activity, extending to 20 m.y. ago, with mafic and ultramafic volcanism, ranging from 25 to 19 m.y.Both volcanism and tectonic activity were minimal during the middle Miocene. About 13 m.y. ago renewed volcanic activity began. Tectonism commenced in the late Miocene, resulting in the present, narrow grabens. The term 'Rio Grande rift' should be restricted to these grabens formed during post-mid-Miocene deformation. Widespread eruption of tholeiitic and alkali olivine basalts occurred 3-2 m.y. ago. The Rio Grande drainage system was integrated 4.5-3 m.y. ago, leading to the present erosional regime.These intervals of deformation and magmatism correspond generally with a similar sequence of events in the Basin and Range province south of the Colorado Plateau. This similarity indicates that the Rio Grande rift is not a unique structure in the southwestern U.S., and must be related to the larger context of the entire Basin and Range province.

Authors 
W.S. Baldridge, P.E. Damon, M. Shafiqullah and R.J. Bridwell








Published Journal 
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1980





DOI 
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Online 
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Citation

W.S. Baldridge,P.E. Damon,M. Shafiqullah,R.J. Bridwell. 1980. Evolution of the Central Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico- New Potassium-Argon Ages. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 51(2):309-321.