A Palaeozoic NW Passage and the Timanian, Caledonian and Uralian connections of some exotic terranes in the North American Cordillera
Maurice Colpron, Joanne L. Nelson, 2011. "A Palaeozoic NW Passage and the Timanian, Caledonian and Uralian connections of some exotic terranes in the North American Cordillera", Arctic Petroleum Geology, Anthony M. Spencer, Ashton F. Embry, Donald L. Gautier, Antonina V. Stoupakova, Kai Sørensen
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Exotic terranes of inferred Arctic affinity form an outer belt within the North American Cordillera extending from Alaska to northern California. The geological history, fossil and detrital zircon data for these terranes show strong correlations and linkages among them, and many features in common with the northern Caledonides, the Timanide orogen and the Urals. They probably occupied an intermediate position between Baltica, Laurentia and Siberia, in proximity to the northern Caledonides in Early Palaeozoic time. Westward dispersion of these terranes is interpreted to result from development of a Scotia-style subduction system between Laurentia–Baltica and Siberia in Mid-Palaeozoic time – the NW Passage – following closure of the Iapetus ocean. Diachronous orogenic activity from Late Silurian in Arctic Canada to Early Devonian in north Yukon and Alaska records passage of some of these terranes. Westward propagation of a narrow subduction zone coupled with a global change in plate motion, linked to closure of the Rheic Ocean are proposed to have led to initiation of subduction along the western margin of Laurentia. This is recorded by the Late Devonian initiation of arc magmatism along western Laurentia, and the Late Devonian–Early Mississippian Antler orogeny in the western US and Ellesmerian orogeny in the Canadian Arctic.