Along-Strike Variation in the Magmatic Tempo of the Coast Mountains Batholith, British Columbia, and Implications for Processes Controlling Episodicity in Arcs

M. R. Cecil, M. E. Rusmore, George E Gehrels, G. J. Woodsworth, H. H. Stowell, I. N. Yokelson, C. Chisom, M. Trautman, E. Homan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The growth of the Coast Mountains batholith has been documented as episodic through time, and it has become a type example of a continental arc system that developed through non-steady-state magmatism. The magmatic record, however, is not well known along the length of the arc, hindering evaluation of the processes controlling the tempo and patterns of batholith growth. A new, robust geochronologic database (485 U-Pb zircon and titanite ages, 120 of which are newly presented herein) covering nearly 1,000 km of arc length reveals significant along-strike variation in the tempo of batholith emplacement, the timing of arc cessation, and the arc cooling history. Zircon ages range from ~180 to 40 Ma along the length of the arc and overlap with titanite ages, with the exception of parts of the central batholith where Eocene extension and exhumation of lower crustal rocks led to a more complex history. New analysis of zircon ages reveals significant along-strike differences in the timing of high flux magmatic events. Small-scale (<150 km) intra-arc variations in magmatic tempo suggest that small-scale processes, likely operating within the arc system, appear to have driven the episodic growth of the Coast Mountains batholith. In contrast, rates of Cretaceous-Paleogene eastward arc migration are consistently ~2.5 km/Myr along the length of the arc. These rates are similar to those documented in North American arc systems, which suggests that arc migration has an external, plate-scale driver and/or is an intrinsic, self-modulating feature of most continental arcs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • batholith
  • Coast Mountains
  • geochronology
  • magmatic flux
  • U–Pb zircon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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