Wyoming craton

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The Wyoming craton is a craton located in the west-central United States and western Canada – more specifically, in Montana, Wyoming, southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, and parts of northern Utah. Also called the Wyoming province, it is the initial core of the continental crust of North America.

The Wyoming craton was sutured together with the Superior and Hearne-Rae cratons in the mountain-building episode that created the Trans-Hudson Suture Zone to form the core of North America (Laurentia). It was incorporated into southwest Laurentia approximately 1.86 billion years ago.

Local preservation of 3.6–3.0 Ga gneisses and widespread isotopic evidence for crust of this age incorporated into younger plutons indicates that the Wyoming craton was, and still is, a 100,000&nbsp;km<sup>2</sup> middle Archean craton that was modified by late Archean magmatism and tectonism and Proterozoic extension and rifting.

The Wyoming, Superior and Hearne cratons were once sections of separate continents, but today they are all welded together. The collision of these cratons began before ca. 1.77 Ga, with post-tectonic magmatism at ca. 1.715 Ga (the Harney Peak granite). This tectonic-magmatic interval is 50–60 million years younger than that reported for the Hearne-Superior collision of the Trans-Hudson orogeny in Canada.

Younger metamorphic dates (1.81–1.71 Ga) also typify the eastern and...
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