The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.

Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Mulcahy, Sean

Second Advisor

Schermer, Elizabeth, 1959-

Third Advisor

McClelland, Bill C.


The Mesoproterozoic MARA terrane of South America has been interpreted to collide and subduct beneath the Gondwana margin of South America in the Cambrian. To test the proposed tectonic model, I combine metamorphic petrology and geochronology along with quantitative thermobarometry to constrain metamorphic events and peak conditions within the Sierra de Maz of the MARA terrane and the adjacent Sierra de Ramaditas. Foliations within the Sierra de Maz are steeply east dipping, with a major sinistral reverse shear zone separating the two major units (Zaino and Maz Complexes) of the northern range. Garnet Lu-Hf records a single metamorphic event in the Zaino Complex at ~425 Ma. Combined garnet Lu-Hf and monazite U-Pb reveal a polymetamorphic history in the Maz Complex with two distinct metamorphic events at ~1.2 Ga and ~425 Ma. Both Complexes were deformed by sinstral transpression between 435 and 415 Ma. Preserved across these Complexes is a Silurian-Devonian amphibolite to granulite inverted metamorphic field gradient that is compatible with observed and modeled gradients from other transpressive orogens. The Ramaditas complex records lower-pressure granulite facies metamorphism at ~460 Ma, was deformed at ~426 Ma, and is correlated with the Famatina arc rather than its previously proposed affiliation to units in the Sierra de Maz. Units of the Sierra de Maz do not share metamorphic histories with nearby ranges within the proposed extent of the MARA terrane. Age dissimilarities require that portions of the MARA terrane were tectonically juxtaposed likely as a result of transpressive translation along the Gondwana margin.




MARA, South America, Sierra de Maz, garnet, monazite, transpression



Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Geology, Stratigraphic--Proterozoic; Plate tectonics--Argentina--La Rioja (Province); Strike-slip faults (Geology)--Argentina--La Rioja (Province); Geological time; Geology, Structural

Geographic Coverage

La Rioja (Argentina : Province)




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Included in

Geology Commons