Abstract

The Clearwater – Wells Gray area of east-central British Columbia includes a succession of late Cenozoic, alkali olivine basalt flows that lie east of the extensive Chilcotin lavas and define the eastern end of the Anahim Volcanic Belt. The rocks are petrographically similar to but less altered than the Chilcotin basalts. The volcanic activity spanned at least two episodes of glacial advance and produced both subaerial flows and a subaqueous facies comprising pillow lava, pillow breccia, and tuff breccia, locally intercalated with fluvial gravels and sand. Four morphological assemblages have been recognized. An early glacial assemblage, characterized by tuyalike forms, gives K – Ar dates of 0.27 – 3.5 Ma. These circular features are surrounded by a deeply dissected valley-filling assemblage of subaerial and minor subaqueous flows and tuff breccia that rest locally on lag gravel and till. Subaerial flows in this assemblage give K – Ar dates of 0.15 – 0.56 Ma. Whitehorse Bluffs, a volcanic centre composed of crudely laminated tuff cut by high-level dykes, may be a source of some of these valley-filling flows. A late interglacial assemblage is composed of subaerial pyroclastic material, transitional deposits, and deposits that are clearly subaqueous. Volcanic activity in the area culminated with the formation of pyroclastic cones, blocky lava flows, and pit craters that postdate the last Cordilleran glaciation.

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