U-Pb and Hf Analyses of Detrital Zircons from Paleozoic and Cretaceous Strata on Vancouver Island, British Columbia: Constraints on the Paleozoic Tectonic Evolution of Southern Wrangellia

Daniel Alberts, George E. Gehrels, Joanne Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wrangellia is a late Paleozoic arc terrane that occupies two distinct coastal regions of western Canada and Alaska. The Skolai arc of northern Wrangellia in south-central Alaska and Yukon has been linked to the older, adjacent Alexander terrane by shared Late Devonian rift-related gabbros and also by Late Pennsylvanian postcollisional plutons. Late Devonian to Early Permian Sicker arc rocks of southern Wrangellia are exposed in uplifts on Vancouver Island, southwestern British Columbia, surrounded by younger strata and lacking physical connections to other terranes. Utilizing the detrital zircon record of Paleozoic and Cretaceous sedimentary rocks, we provide insight into the magmatic and depositional evolution of southern Wrangellia and its relationships to both northern Wrangellia and the Alexander terrane. 1422 U-Pb LA-ICPMS analyses from the Fourth Lake Formation (Mississippian–Permian) reveal syndepositional Carboniferous age peaks (344, 339, 336, 331, and 317 Ma), sourced from the Sicker arc of southern Wrangellia. These populations overlap in part known ages of volcanism, but the Middle Mississippian cumulative peak (337 Ma) documents a previously unrecognized magmatic episode. Paleozoic detrital zircons exhibit intermediate to juvenile ƐHf(t) values between +15 and +5, indicating that southern Wrangellia was not strictly built on primitive oceanic crust, but instead on transitional crust with a small evolved component. The Fourth Lake samples yielded 49 grains (3.4% of the total grains analyzed) with ages between 2802Ma and 442 Ma, and with corresponding ƐHf(t)values ranging from +13 to -20. In age—ƐHf(t) space, these grains fall within the Alexander terrane array. They were probably derived from sedimentary rocks in the basement of the Sicker arc. By analogy with northern Wrangellia, this basement incorporated rifted fragments of the Alexander terrane margin as the combined Sicker-Skolai arc system advanced ocean-ward due to slab rollback in Late Devonian to Early Mississippian time. Ultimately, data from detrital zircons preserved in the Fourth Lake Formation provides significant information allowing for an updated tectonic model of Paleozoic Wrangellia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalLithosphere
Volume2021
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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