Abstract

The Lower Jurassic, Ashcroft Formation contains a thick section of carbonaceous marine shale and a few graded sandstones. Along the south and east margins of the Ashcroft Basin, Ashcroft strata rest unconformably on calc-alkaline and alkaline volcanic flows and sediments of the Upper Triassic, Nicola Group. On the west margin Nicola and Ashcroft strata lie against mélange of the Cache Creek Group. This contact is faulted in some places, but it may be a depositional unconformity elsewhere.South of Cache Creek village, overturned allochthons of Nicola strata were placed on top of Ashcroft beds in Early Jurassic time before Ashcroft sediments were lithified. Turbidity currents flowed southeast contemporaneous with sliding or thrusting of allochthons.Near the Guichon Creek Batholith, the Ashcroft Formation contains a disconformity that separates Sinemurian–Pliensbachian from Callovian strata. However, in the western part of the Ashcroft basin strata appear continuous from Sinemurian–Pliensbachian to Callovian. The Guichon Creek Batholith was emplaced into Nicola strata along the eastern edge of the Ashcroft Basin about 200 Ma ago (late Sinemurian*) and was quickly unroofed to provide granitic debris to the basin.The Ashcroft Basin appears to have been an early Mesozoic outer arc basin. It formed seaward of calc-alkaline magmatism and landward of and possibly on top of a mélange. Middle or Late Triassic radiolaria found in the Cache Creek show that deformation of the mélange took place as late as Late Triassic time. Arc-directed thrusting and sliding may be gravity processes due to elevation of the outer arc ridge during subduction.

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