skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Flowers, Rebecca M."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. The Great Unconformity marks a major gap in the continental geological record, separating Precambrian basement from Phanerozoic sedimentary rocks. However, the timing, magnitude, spatial heterogeneity, and causes of the erosional event(s) and/or depositional hiatus that lead to its development are unknown. We present field relationships from the 1.07-Ga Pikes Peak batholith in Colorado that constrain the position of Cryogenian and Cambrian paleosurfaces below the Great Unconformity. Tavakaiv sandstone injectites with an age of ≥676 ± 26 Ma cut Pikes Peak granite. Injection of quartzose sediment in bulbous bodies indicates near-surface conditions during emplacement. Fractured, weathered wall rock around Tavakaiv bodies and intensely altered basement fragments within unweathered injectites imply still earlier regolith development. These observations provide evidence that the granite was exhumed and resided at the surface prior to sand injection, likely before the 717-Ma Sturtian glaciation for the climate appropriate for regolith formation over an extensive region of the paleolandscape. The 510-Ma Sawatch sandstone directly overlies Tavakaiv-injected Pikes granite and drapes over core stones in Pikes regolith, consistent with limited erosion between 717 and 510 Ma. Zircon (U-Th)/He dates for basement below the Great Unconformity are 975 to 46 Ma and are consistent with exhumation by 717 Ma. Ourmore »results provide evidence that most erosion below the Great Unconformity in Colorado occurred before the first Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth and therefore cannot be a product of glacial erosion. We propose that multiple Great Unconformities developed diachronously and represent regional tectonic features rather than a synchronous global phenomenon.

    « less
  2. Abstract. Here we examine the landscape of New Zealand'sMarlborough Fault System (MFS), where the Australian and Pacific plates obliquelycollide, in order to study landscape evolution and the controls on fluvialpatterns at a long-lived plate boundary. We present maps of drainageanomalies and channel steepness, as well as an analysis of the plan-vieworientations of rivers and faults, and we find abundant evidence ofstructurally controlled drainage that we relate to a history of drainagecapture and rearrangement in response to mountain-building and strike-slipfaulting. Despite clear evidence of recent rearrangement of the western MFSdrainage network, rivers in this region still flow parallel to older faults,rather than along orthogonal traces of younger, active strike-slip faults.Such drainage patterns emphasize the importance of river entrenchment,showing that once rivers establish themselves along a structural grain,their capture or avulsion becomes difficult, even when exposed to newweakening and tectonic strain. Continued flow along older faults may alsoindicate that the younger faults have not yet generated a fault damage zonewith the material weakening needed to focus erosion and reorient rivers.Channel steepness is highest in the eastern MFS, in a zone centered on theKaikōura ranges, including within the low-elevation valleys of main stemrivers and at tributaries near the coast. This pattern is consistentmore »with anincrease in rock uplift rate toward a subduction front that is locked on itssouthern end. Based on these results and a wealth of previous geologicstudies, we propose two broad stages of landscape evolution over the last 25 million years of orogenesis. In the eastern MFS, Miocene folding above blindthrust faults generated prominent mountain peaks and formed major transverserivers early in the plate collision history. A transition to Pliocenedextral strike-slip faulting and widespread uplift led to cycles of riverchannel offset, deflection and capture of tributaries draining across activefaults, and headward erosion and captures by major transverse rivers withinthe western MFS. We predict a similar landscape will evolve south of theHope Fault, as the locus of plate boundary deformation migrates southwardinto this region with time.« less