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Paleogeography and Tectonic Evolution Interpreted from Deformed Sequences: Principles, Limitations, and Examples from the Southwestern United States

  • J. Douglas Walker
Part of the Frontiers in Sedimentary Geology book series (SEDIMENTARY)

Abstract

Paleogeographic analysis is an important way to reconstruct tectonic evolution. In many areas of interest, strata to be analyzed are deformed and metamorphosed. Although interpretations based on data collected from disrupted rocks are commonly poorly constrained relative to analysis of undeformed sequences, useful information can often be recovered.

Paleogeographic reconstructions within orogenic belts are more difficult due to metamorphism and deformation because: 1) material is uplifted and lost to erosion; and 2) the internal structure of sequences is altered. Interpretations are based on whatever features are still recognizable in the rocks and, when available, lithostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic, and/or biostratigraphic correlation with surrounding areas. Care must be taken to correlate rocks correctly; to this end, marker sequences, rather than marker beds, provide the most reliable tools.

Interpretation of the tectonic evolution of the Mojave Desert, southwestern United States, is based on the analysis of rocks that are presently exposed as metamorphosed and deformed roof pendants. Upper Precambrian to Paleozoic sequences are continuous with the Cordilleran miogeocline and show southwesterly paleogeographic trends. Correlation of these rocks is based on marker sequences. A fundamental event occurred in Permo-Triassic time that resulted in a change in the orientation of paleogeographic trends. This event was probably related to the change from a passive to a subducting margin along the western Cordillera.

Keywords

Tectonic Evolution Lower Cambrian Mojave Desert Marker Sequence Paleogeographic Reconstruction 
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.

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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

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  • J. Douglas Walker

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