Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 159, Issue 6, pp 863–883 | Cite as

Migrating magmatism in the northern US Cordillera: in situ U–Pb geochronology of the Idaho batholith

  • Richard M. GaschnigEmail author
  • Jeffrey D. Vervoort
  • Reed S. Lewis
  • William C. McClelland
Original Paper


New in situ laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry and sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe U–Pb geochronology of zircons from the Idaho batholith and spatially overlapping Challis intrusions reveals a series of discrete magmatic belts of different ages and compositions. Following the accretion of the Blue Mountains province to North America along the Salmon River suture zone, two compositionally diverse belts of metaluminous plutons formed both adjacent to the suture and well inboard of it. These were constructed from ~100 to 85 Ma and were followed by a voluminous pulse of peraluminous magmatism, forming the bulk of the Atlanta lobe and largest fraction of the batholith between ~80 and 67 Ma. Around 70 Ma, a later and more spatially restricted suite of metaluminous plutons formed around the Bitterroot lobe of the batholith. This was followed by another pulse of voluminous peraluminous magmatism in the Bitterroot lobe, lasting from ~66 to 54 Ma. The changes from low volume metaluminous to high volume peraluminous magmatism may reflect a combination of changes in the angle and segmentation of the subducting Farallon plate and over thickening of the continental lithosphere. All of these features were then cut by plutons and dikes associated with the Challis volcanic field, lasting from ~51 to 43 Ma. Inherited components are pervasive in zircons from most phases of the batholith. While Precambrian components are very common, zircons also often contain cores or mantles that are 5–20 million years older than their rims. This suggests that the early phases of the batholith were repeatedly cannibalized by subsequent magmas. This also implies that the older suites may have been originally more aerially extensive than their currently exposed forms.


Zircon Suture Zone Quartz Diorite Mafic Dike Zone Suite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to acknowledge support from NSF grants EAR-0537913 and EAR-0844149, a Geological Society of America Graduate Student Research Grant, and Praetorius-Exxon Graduate Fellowship from WSU. We thank Charles Knaack and Paul Olin for analytical help with LA-ICPMS. We also greatly appreciate the zircon separates provided by Elizabeth King and John Valley. We also would like to thank Mary Reid and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive and helpful comments.

Supplementary material

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Appendix A. Age plots (DOC 25 kb)
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Appendix B. SHRIMP-RG U–Pb zircon geochronology data (DOC 50 kb)
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Appendix C. LA-ICP-MS U–Pb zircon geochronology data (DOC 1761 kb)
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Supplementary figure A1 (EPS 1111 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Gaschnig
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jeffrey D. Vervoort
    • 1
  • Reed S. Lewis
    • 2
  • William C. McClelland
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Idaho Geological SurveyUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeoscienceUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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