Metamorphism at a late Mesozoic accretionary margin: a study from the Coast Belt of the North American Cordillera

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Abstract:

Abstract

The late Mesozoic and Cenozoic metamorphic evolution of the western North American continental margin is recorded in a belt of homogeneous metapelitic rocks, the Kluane metamorphic assemblage (KMA), in the northern Coast Belt of Yukon Territory. A record of Late Cretaceous medium-pressure and -temperature (c. 7 kbar, 500 °C) metamorphism, M1, is preserved in Ca-rich garnet and Na-rich plagioclase cores in rocks that were little affected by later events. M1 was synchronous with mylonitization and is attributed to accretion of the KMA to the ancient continental margin. Isothermal decompression during rapid uplift was followed by early Eocene emplacement of the Ruby Range Batholith (RRB), part of a magmatic arc produced by subduction of the Kula plate. The intrusion of the RRB led to a contact metamorphic overprint, M2, producing a 5–6 km wide aureole in which the grade ranges from subgarnet zone to garnet–cordierite–K-feldspar zone. Pressure and temperature estimates for M2, calculated from mineral equilibria, are 3.5–4.5 kbar and 530–720 °C, generally consistent with the stability limits of the observed mineral assemblages. Comparison of mineral assemblages and PT conditions in the KMA with those in the Mclaren Glacier metamorphic belt in Alaska does not support the correlation of the two metamorphic sequences. This weakens the hypothesis proposing 400 km of dextral slip along the Denali fault zone.

Keywords: Coast Belt; Yukon Territory; contact aureole; geothermobarometry; metapelites

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E3, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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