The Idaho batholith of the North American Cordillera is a large and long-lived silicic intrusive center. We studied fabrics at the regional scale within the different intrusive suites of the Idaho batholith, using microstructural characterization, anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility measurements, and shape preferred orientation analyses. Each studied outcrop was collocated with existing U-Pb zircon geochronology and ongoing (U-Th)/He zircon thermochronology results. Three new 40Ar/39Ar biotite ages, collocated with the existing U-Pb zircon ages, constrain the cooling rates within the batholith. The presence of dominantly magmatic microstructures allows us to interpret the results relative to the U-Pb zircon ages and observe spatial and temporal patterns of fabric development. The early (pre–80 Ma) intrusive suites exhibit solid-state microstructures that show a consistent orientation only in the western part of the batholith. Fabrics in the 83–67 Ma Atlanta peraluminous suite are weak and inconsistent in orientation, despite emplacement during regional contraction. We hypothesize that the lack of consistently oriented fabrics in the Atlanta lobe results from either: (1) topographic effects that caused local extensional/neutral strain environments in the upper parts of a crustal plateau; or (2) emplacement in thin, horizontal magmatic sheets. In contrast, fabrics within the 66–53 Ma Bitterroot peraluminous suite are well developed and consistently oriented (NW-striking; NE-dipping), recording localized contraction during magmatism.
- Received 12 April 2016.
- Revision received 30 June 2016.
- Accepted 11 August 2016.
- © 2016 Geological Society of America