40Ar/39Ar Evidence for ca. 1800 Ma Tectonothermal Activity along the Great Falls Tectonic Zone, Central Montana

Publication Title

Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type





40Ar/39Ar, tectonothermal activity, Great Falls Tectonic Zone, Central Montana




Late Paleoproterozoic (19001600 Ma) tectonothermal activity on all borders of the Archean Wyoming Province has long been established by low-precision KAr and RbSr studies. However, recent tectonic models advanced for supercontinent aggregation require improved constraints on the timing of tectonothermal activity along major boundaries. On its northwestern boundary, the Great Falls tectonic zone separates the Archean Wyoming and Hearne provinces. Recently published U/Pb ages and geochemical data reveal the presence of a Paleoproterozoic (ca. 1860 Ma) marginal-arc magmatic complex along a portion of the Great Falls tectonic zone in central Montana. We present nine new 40Ar/39Ar mineral ages (on hornblende and biotite) from these same arc rocks, which indicate ca. 1800 Ma thermal activity (>500°C) and subsequent rapid cooling to below 300°C by 1775 Ma. This new data set constrains the timing of WyomingHearne collision to between 1860 and 1800 Ma and the timing of last significant tectonothermal activity of this portion of the Great Falls tectonic zone (18001775 Ma). We note that our data add to a growing geochronologic database indicating ca. 1800 Ma tectonothermal activity (via either initial suturing or continued tectonic activity) associated with Paleoproterozoic docking of the Wyoming Province with Laurentia.


Canadian Science Publishing