Lithosphere-asthenosphere mixing in a transform-dominated late Paleozoic backarc basin: Implications for northern Cordilleran crustal growth and assembly

Stephen J. Piercey, Donald C. Murphy, Robert A. Creaser
2012 Geosphere  
The Slide Mountain terrane is part of a North American Cordillera-long backarc basinal assemblage that developed between the ensialic arc terranes (Yukon-Tanana and affi liated pericratonic terranes) and the North American craton in the middle to late Paleozoic. The Slide Mountain basin started to open in the Late Devonian, and spreading continued through the late Paleozoic in an oblique (transform-dominated) manner such that the pericratonic terranes were translated into southerly latitudes.
more » ... e basin closed, also in an oblique manner, by the Early Triassic, resulting in the reaccretion of the Yukon-Tanana terrane to the northwestern Laurentian margin. Both the opening and closing likely involved hundreds to possibly thousands of kilometers of intra-ocean and/or intra-arc strike-slip displacement, sinistral during the ocean's Late Devonian to mid-Permian opening and dextral during its Late Permian closing. In southeastern Yukon, Canada, the Early Permian Slide Mountain terrane is dominated by mafi c and ultramafi c volcanic and plutonic rocks of the Campbell Range Formation. These rocks are narrowly distributed, for over 300 km, on either side of the Jules Creek-Vangorda fault, a fault that separates Slide Mountain terrane from Yukon-Tanana terrane. The Campbell Range basaltic volcanic and high-level intrusive rocks have geochemical and isotopic signatures that vary systematically across the Jules Creek-Vangorda fault: ocean-island basalt (OIB) and enriched mid-ocean ridge basalt (E-MORB) suites with lower εNd t occur exclusively south of the fault, whereas north of the fault they have normal midocean ridge basalt (N-MORB) and backarc basin basalt (BABB) signatures with higher εNd t values. The εNd t values are inversely correlated with Nb/Th pm and Nb/La pm , suggesting that the lower εNd t values present in the E-MORB and OIB are mantle source features of these basalts and not due to continental crustal contamination. Isotopic and multi-element mixing calculations illustrate that the OIB-like basalts were derived primarily from enriched continental lithospheric mantle, whereas the N-MORB and BABB suites were sourced primarily from the upwelling backarc asthenospheric mantle; E-MORBs represent mixtures of depleted asthenospheric and enriched lithospheric mantle. The geochemical and isotopic variations in the Campbell Range Formation across the Jules Creek-Vangorda fault is attributed to formation in different parts of an extending continental-backarc basin and then their subsequent juxtaposition by continued displacement along the fault. Despite the juvenile isotopic signatures present in the Slide Mountain terrane, they occur as thin klippe atop rocks of recycled continental crustal affi nity, suggesting that they were likely only minor contributors to Cordilleran crustal growth.
doi:10.1130/ges00757.1 fatcat:3efd4kokpfbcfh57nq3phrywvu