Abstract

The boundary between the external zones (Rocky Mountains) and the internal zones of the eastern Canadian Cordillera is marked by a Tertiary half graben, the Rocky Mountains Trench (RMT). In the south Cordillera, east of the Shuswap metamorphic complex, the fault limiting the trench is superimposed on an early major thrust, the Late Jurassic Purceli thrust. On approaching this discontinuity, the ductile deformation of the Miette Group, a detrital Precambrian suite, is characterized by a subvertical foliation and a subhorizontal stretching lineation parallel to the fold axes. The deformation intensity, its noncoaxial characters, and its geographic extension are interpreted as resulting from a dextral crustal shear, parallel to the mapped trace of the Purcell thrust and RMT. The dextral slip is deduced from a microtectonic analysis of the observed rotational criteria and is consistent with the small angle occurring between the directions of the linear structure (stretching lineations and fold axes) and those of adjacent discontinuities. The Middle Cretaceous age (100–78 Ma) attributed to this deformation is based on the age of syn- to late-tectonic metamorphic minerals as dated by the 39Ar–40Ar method. A kinematic model involving vectorial decomposition of an oblique convergence is proposed, suggesting the simultaneous occurrence, in the Middle Cretaceous, of two suborthogonal conjugated movement directions, respectively parallel and normal to the general Cordilleran trend. [Journal Translation]

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