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The mid-Cretaceous San Juan Islands–northwest Cascades thrust system is made up of six or more nappes that are a few kilometers or less thick, up to one hundred kilometers in breadth, and that were derived from previously accreted Paleozoic and Mesozoic terranes. This field trip addresses many questions regarding the tectonic evolution of this structural complex, including the homeland of the terranes and the process of post-accretionary dispersal that brought them together, how thrusting in the San Juan Islands might have been related to coeval orogenic activity in the neighboring Coast Plutonic Complex, and the origin of blueschist metamorphism in the thrust system relative to subduction and nappe emplacement. The geology of this trip has many counterparts in other outboard regions of the Cordillera, but some aspects of the tectonic processes, as we understand them to date, seem to be unique.

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