Abstract

Volcanic and sedimentary successions of late Paleozoic and locally Mesozoic age in the Canadian Cordillera form six assemblages, based mainly on lithological association and similar stratigraphy. From east to west these assemblages are: (1) Eastern assemblage, located along the Omineca Crystalline Belt and consisting of Mississippian to Permian largely sedimentary rocks overlain by mainly Permian basic volcanics and ultramafics; (2) poorly known rocks in south-central British Columbia characterized by abundant volcaniclastics of Pennsylvanian and Permian ages; (3) Cache CreekBridge River assemblage of the Intermontane Bell, ranging from Lower Mississippian to Middle Jurassic and composed of chert, argillite, carbonate, basic volcanics, and ultramafics: (4) Stikine assemblage of northwestern and north-central British Columbia of Mississippian and Permian age, with basic to acidic volcanics, argillite, and carbonate; (5) Chilliwack Group on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, of Pennsylvanian and Permian age, with basic to acidic volcanics overlying a carbonate and clastic succession: and (6) SickerSkolai assemblage of Vancouver Island and the Saint Elias Mountains with basic to acidic volcanics overlain by sedimentary rocks. Coeval faunas in several of these assemblages differ. The assemblages may be largely unrelated to one another and came together in the Mesozoic, Their present distribution, with rocks typical of ocean basins (assemblages 1, 3) east of rocks that probably represent island arcs (assemblages, 2, 4, 5, 6) presents major problems. Two hypotheses attempt to explain this distribution. (1) The oceanic assemblages represent Paleozoic and early Mesozoic Pacific Ocean floor obducted over a broad arc terrane in the Jurassic, or (2) they are Paleozoic and early Mesozoic Pacific Ocean floor, trapped east of allochthonous arc terranes (assemblages 4, 5, 6) emplaced in the Mesozoic.

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