Apatite fission-track analysis of samples collected along the length of theSouth Mountains metamorphic core complex and in a vertical profile from the adjacent Sierra Estrella reveal rapid cooling during regional crustal extension. Fission-track ages of 17 samples from South Mountains overlap at the 2σ level and have a weighted mean of 17.5 ± 1.0 Ma. Mean fission-track lengths are all greater than 14 μm, indicating rapid cooling at about this time. Integrating these data with K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar cooling ages of hornblende and biotite yields an average cooling rate of approximately 190°;C/my between 21 and 17 Ma for lower-plate rocks in the South Mountains. Four samples collected over 600 m of relief from the adjacent Sierra Estrella yield apatite ages with a weighted mean of 24.7 ± 0.4 Ma and mean track lengths greater than 14 μm, which also reflect rapid cooling. Geologic constraints suggest that the Sierra Estrella is most likely lower-plate with respect to the South Mountains detachment fault and that its uplift/cooling history is linked to the detachment-style denudation of the South Mountains core complex. If cooling simply reflects tectonic denudation of upper-plate rocks, the calculated rate of extension for the core complex is ≈ 0.3 cm/yr, a rate comparable to those estimated for other core complexes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||International Journal of Radiation Applications and Instrumentation. Part|
|State||Published - 1993|