Exhumed mid-to-lower crustal rocks offer an opportunity to determine the mechanisms, conditions, timing, and consequences of the ascent of hot rocks from deep to shallow crustal levels. We used results of low-T thermochronology (zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He, apatite fission track) to document the very shallow emplacement (<2 km) of high-grade metamorphic rocks and to determine the timing and rates of Cenozoic cooling, exhumation, and subsequent incision of the Thor-Odin migmatite dome of the Shuswap metamorphic core complex, British Columbia (Canada). Samples collected at high elevation in the dome (>1800 m) have preserved Eocene fission-track ages and evidence of rapid cooling (≥60° C/Myr). This Eocene cooling event corresponds to rapid exhumation by upward flow of partially molten crust and final exhumation by detachment faulting. Samples collected below 1800m in elevation display a wide range of apatite fission track ages (43-15Ma) and track length distributions that reflect prolonged residence in the apatite partial annealing zone. These age-elevation relations imply that the dome rocks reached the near surface (<2km) during initial upward flow and tectonic exhumation in the Eocene and that little erosion of the Eocene surface has occurred since that time. Thermal modeling of the lowest elevation samples (≤ ∼600 m) and intrasample apatite (U-Th)/He age variations reveal enhanced erosion and relief production at the onset of continental glaciations at ∼3 Ma. Our work illustrates the dynamic links between deep and shallow crustal processes and the evolution of topography in a deeply incised hot orogen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology