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Magmatism and deformation in a terrane suture zone south of the Denali fault, northern Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska

By
Ronald B. Cole
Ronald B. Cole
1
Dept. of Geology, Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania 16335, USA
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Paul W. Layer
Paul W. Layer
2
Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701, USA
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Benjamin Hooks
Benjamin Hooks
3
Dept. of Geology, Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania 16335, USA
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Andrew Cyr
Andrew Cyr
3
Dept. of Geology, Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania 16335, USA
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Julie Turner
Julie Turner
3
Dept. of Geology, Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania 16335, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2007

Volcanic and granitic rocks of the Jack River igneous field were erupted and emplaced in the suture zone between the accreted Wrangellia composite terrane and the former margin of southern Alaska. The volcanic rocks unconformably overlie Jurassic-Cretaceous shale and sandstone of the Kahiltna assemblage and include 100–300 m of basalt, basaltic andesite, and andesite lava flows overlain by a rhyolite unit that consists of over 900 m of lava flows and pyroclastic deposits. Seven basaltic and rhyolite lava samples yield 40Ar/39Ar ages ranging from 56.0 ± 0.3 to 49.5 ± 0.3 Ma. Two granitic samples yield 40Ar/39Ar ages of 54.6 ± 0.4 and 62.7 ± 0.4 Ma. These age dates indicate that the onset of Jack River magmatism at ca. 62.7 Ma coincided with the terminal phase of terrane accretion and continued after accretion to at least 49.5 Ma.

The volcanic rocks range between tholeiitic and high-K calc-alkaline series and show a bimodal distribution with respect to silica (dacite is absent). The Jack River basalts are tholeiitic, have rare earth element and high field strength element ratios that are in the range between Pacific enriched mid-ocean-ridge basalts and Hawaiian ocean-island basalts (e.g., La/Yb = 5.0–8.4; Nb/Zr = 0.07–0.11), and have a within-plate geochemistry (e.g., Ti/V >50; high Zr/Y). All of the Jack River volcanic rocks exhibit some degree of enrichment in large ion lithophile and/or fluid mobile elements (e.g., Cs, Ba, Th, U, K, and Pb), although the basalts have low ratios between large ion lithophile and high field strength elements (e.g., Ba/Nb as low as 32.7 and Pb/Nb of 0.28–0.35). The granitic rocks (granites to granodiorites) are strongly depleted in the heavy rare earth elements, and most samples exhibit characteristics of adakites (e.g., Al2O3 >15 weight %, Yb = 0.6–1.2 ppm, Y = 5.5–12.5 ppm, and Sr/Y = 20.4–66.2).

The Jack River basalts were derived from partial melts of a mantle source that was more enriched than depleted mid-ocean-ridge basalt mantle and that ranged toward an enriched mantle (EM-I-type) composition.The basalts then evolved by assimilation and fractional crystallization to form intermediate magmas. Rhyolite magmas were formed later as anatectic melts of upper crustal argillaceous rocks (Kahiltna assemblage), resulting in the bimodal volcanism. The granitic adakite magmas may have formed by melting of garnet-bearing metamorphosed sedimentary rocks (meta-Kahiltna assemblage) that formed lower crustal rocks in the suture zone. Although the Jack River igneous rocks do exhibit some arc-like geochemical characteristics (e.g., elevated large ion lithophile elements), they differ from calc-alkaline arc rocks in that (1) they are a bimodal volcanic suite; (2) the rhyolites are not comagmatic with the basaltic and intermediate rocks; (3) the basalts and andesites have higher TiO2 (>1.5 weight %) than is typical for arc basalts and andesites; (4) the basalts do not exhibit depletion of high field strength elements (e.g., Ta and Nb) with respect to large ion lithophile elements; (5) the basalts have an intraplate geochemical affinity; and (6) adakites are present. These characteristics show that the geochemistry of postcollisional suture zone magmatism can be transitional between calc-alkaline arc and intraplate magmatism.

The Jack River volcanic field is deformed into a broad, northeast-trending syncline, which is crosscut by small-scale brittle faults that include northwest- and west-trending normal-slip and oblique-slip faults, and a southeast-dipping reverse fault that places Kahiltna assemblage rocks over the Jack River volcanic rocks. The pattern of Jack River deformation is consistent with right-lateral simple shear along the Denali fault system and indicates an episode of post-49.5 Ma strike-slip along the McKinley strand of the Denali fault. The Jack River rocks, therefore, record the magmatic response to terrane accretion and the kinematics of margin-parallel transport of an accreted terrane assemblage after it was sutured to the continental margin.

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GSA Special Papers

Tectonic Growth of a Collisional Continental Margin: Crustal Evolution of Southern Alaska

Kenneth D. Ridgway
Kenneth D. Ridgway
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Jeffrey M. Trop
Jeffrey M. Trop
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Jonathan M.G. Glen
Jonathan M.G. Glen
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J. Michael O'Neill
J. Michael O'Neill
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Geological Society of America
Volume
431
ISBN print:
9780813724317
Publication date:
January 01, 2007

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