Timescales of orogeny: Jurassic construction of the Klamath Mountains

Bradley R. Hacker, Mary M. Donato, Calvin G. Barnes, M. O. McWilliams, W. G. Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


An electronic supplement of this material may be obtained on a diskette or Anonymous FTP from KOSMOS.AGU.ORG (LOGIN to AGU’s FTP account using ANONYMOUS as the username and GUEST as the password. Go to the right directory by typing CD APEND. Type LS to see what files are available. Type GET and the name of the file to get it. Finally, type EXIT to leave the system.) (Paper 94YCJ2454, Timescales of orogeny: Jurassic construction of the Klamath Mountains, B.R. Hacker, M.M. Donato, C.G. Barnes, M.O. McWilliams, and W.G. Ernst). Diskette may be ordered from American Geophysical Union, 2000 Florida Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20009; $15.00. Payment must accompany order. Classical interpretations of orogeny were based on relatively imprecise biostratigraphic and isotopic age determinations that necessitated grouping apparently related features that may in reality have been greatly diachronous. Isotopic age techniques now have the precision required to resolve the timing of orogenic events on a scale much smaller than that of entire mountain belts. Forty‐five new 40Ar/39Ar ages from the Klamath Mountains illuminate the deformation, metamorphism, magmatism, and sedimentation involved in the Jurassic construction of that orogen, leading to a new level of understanding regarding how preserved orogenic features relate to ancient plate tectonic processes. The new geochronologic relationships show that many Jurassic units of the Klamath Mountains had 200 Ma or older volcanoplutonic basement. Subsequent formation of a large ∼170 Ma arc was followed by contractional collapse of the arc. Collision with a spreading ridge may have led to large‐scale NW–SE extension in the central and northern Klamaths from 167 to ∼155 Ma, coincident with the crystallization of voluminous plutonic and volcanic suites. Marked cooling of a large region of the central Klamath Mountains to below ∼350°C at ∼150 Ma may have occurred as the igneous belt was extinguished by subduction of colder material at deeper structural levels. These data demonstrate that the Klamath Mountains—and perhaps other similar orogens—were constructed during areally and temporally variant episodes of contraction, extension, and magmatism that do not fit classical definitions of orogeny.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-703
Number of pages27
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1995


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