A review of the geology and structure of the Cheyenne belt and Proterozoic rocks of southern Wyoming

R. S. Houston, Ernest M Duebendorfer, K. E. Karlstrom, W. R. Premo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


The Colorado Proterozoic province is separated from Archean rocks of the Wyoming province by a major structural boundary, the Cheyenne belt. Proterozoic rocks south of the Cheyenne belt are exposed in the Sierra Madre, Medicine Bow Mountains, and Laramie Range of southern Wyoming. They consist of metavolcanic units, metagraywacke, pelitic schist and gneiss, amphibolite, and felsic to mafic intrusive rocks that locally resemble rocks of central Colorado. North of the Cheyenne belt, Archean granite and gneiss of the Wyoming craton are overlain by a Late Archean and Early Proterozoic supracrustal sequence that contains quartzite, metadolomite, phyllite, and subordinate metavolcanic rocks. The eugeoclinal character of the metamorphic rocks south of the Cheyenne belt contrasts sharply with the dominantly siliciclastic supracrustal rocks north of the Cheyenne belt. Although specific sequences south of the belt have not yet been correlated between the Sierra Madre, Medicine Bow Mountains, and Laramie Range, similarities in age, lithology, and major element chemistry suggest that they are part of a single geologic terrane. Macroscopic structure and microscopic kinematic indicators within the Cheyenne belt suggest that accretion of the Proterozoic rocks of northern Colorado to the Archean Wyoming craton was accomplished primarily by large-scale thrusting. Following accretion of individual thrust blocks, the boundary zone was steepened by folding and reactivated locally during a period of strike-slip movement. Presence of similar lithologies and shear zones south of the Cheyenne belt suggests that the southern margin of the Wyoming craton may have been a long-lived zone of crustal accretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

Cite this