Stratigraphy, sedimentology, and geochronology of the Upper Jurassic Cucurpe Formation in north-central Sonora, Mexico, provide new insights into Late Jurassic rifting along the southwestern margin of Laurentia. The Cucurpe Formation is the fill of the Altar-Cucurpe Basin. This basin developed upon attenuated crust of the Triassic–Middle Jurassic continental arc and was part of the Arivechi-Cucurpe seaway; a narrow marine embayment oriented parallel to and located west of the Chihuahua trough. The Cucurpe Formation unconformably overlies Middle Jurassic arc assemblages and represents upward-coarsening marine prodeltaic deposits. New U-Pb zircon geochronology and a Kimmeridgian ammonite (Idoceras cf. I. densicostatum) constrain its age to between ca. 158 and 149 Ma. Detrital zircon ages from the unconformably overlying Lower Cretaceous Bisbee Group indicate a maximum depositional age of 139 ± 2 Ma (2σ error), demonstrating a hiatus of at least 10 m.y. between Jurassic and Cretaceous strata. Detrital zircon ages and petrographic data indicate the provenance of Cucurpe Formation and lowermost Bisbee strata. The lower part of the Cucurpe was derived dominantly from Middle Jurassic volcano-sedimentary successions. The upper part of the Cucurpe Formation was largely derived from syneruptive volcanic material equivalent to the Ko Vaya volcanic suite of southern Arizona and northern Sonora. Lowermost Bisbee strata were derived from Middle Jurassic arc rocks and exhumed Caborcan basement, Paleozoic–Lower Jurassic sedimentary cover, and Lower Cretaceous intermediate volcanic rocks. Revised stratigraphy of the Cucurpe-Tuape region indicates that several conglomeratic units, formerly interpreted as Late Jurassic pull-apart basin deposits, are not of Late Jurassic age.
- Received 30 March 2010.
- Revision received 10 September 2010.
- Accepted 19 September 2010.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America