A previously unrecognized angular unconformity divides the Jurassic and Cretaceous McCoy Mountains Formation into a lower and an upper unit in the Dome Rock Mountains and Livingston Hills of western Arizona. The lower unit of the McCoy Mountains Formation consists of generally fine-grained quartzose and volcaniclastic strata that were deposited after cessation of Middle Jurassic explosive volcanism. The basal contact of the lower unit is disconformable in most places, but locally it has been interpreted to be gradational with the underlying silicic volcanic rocks. The upper unit is a fining-upward sequence of quartzo-feldspathic and arkosic conglomerate and sandstone that records uplift of a northern source terrane. A tuff in the lower part of the upper unit has a U-Pb crystallization age of 79 ± 2 Ma (Late Cretaceous). Rocks of the lower unit are deformed by pre-80 Ma thrust faults of the generally southward-vergent Maria fold and thrust belt, which bounds the outcrop belt of the McCoy Mountains Formation on the north. The upper unit is exposed only south of the fold and thrust belt.
We interpret the intraformation unconformity in the McCoy Mountains Formation to have developed where rocks of the lower unit were deformed adjacent to the southern margin of the Maria fold and thrust belt. The upper unit of the formation is interpreted as a foreland-basin deposit that was shed southward from the actively rising and deforming fold and thrust belt. The apparent absence of an equivalent unconformity in the McCoy Mountains Formation in adjacent California is presumably a consequence of the observed westward divergence of the outcrop belt from the fold and thrust belt. Continued southward shortening deformed the entire formation under greenschist- and, locally, amphibolite-facies conditions soon after the upper unit was deposited. Tectonic burial beneath the north-vergent Mule Mountains thrust system in the latest Late Cretaceous (∼70 Ma) marked the end of Mesozoic contractile deformation in the area.
- Geological Society of America