Abstract

Three informal stratigraphic divisions are recognized in the uppermost Proterozoic – Lower Cambrian Hamill Group in the northern Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. These informal divisions include a lower sandstone unit, a greenstone–graded-sandstone unit, and an upper sandstone unit. Both the lower and upper sandstone units display sedimentary characteristics that are uniform along strike and indicate a shallow-marine environment of deposition. As is typical of other exposures of the Hamil Group in southeastern British Columbia, the lower sandstone unit is coarser grained and more poorly sorted than the mature quartz arenites of the upper sandstone unit.The greenstone–graded-sandstone unit is a complex assemblage of mafic metavolcanic rocks and associated sandstone facies. This unit is highly variable along strike but essentially consists of a thick succession of subaqueous extrusive rocks overlain by a variety of sediment gravity-flow deposits. These latter deposits include resedimented conglomerates, debris-flow deposits, and trubidites (deposited from both high- and low-density turbidity currents). Stratigraphic sections of this unit are described in detail from three different localities and are examined in terms of their transport and depositional mechanisms.The stratigraphic succession of the Hamill Group indicates that deposition of the shallow-marine sands of the lower sandstone unit was abruptly interrupted by a period of volcanism, the creation of a paleoslope, and the deposition of a large volume of sediment gravity-flow deposits of the greenstone–graded-sandstone unit. These relations are attributed to an episode of syndepositional normal faulting. The inferred fault(s) could have served as the conduit for the extrusion of the volcanics. Offset along the fault(s), the tilting of fault blocks, and the consequent formation of an unstable slope adjacent to a fault scarp created an environment favorable for deposition of the sediment gravity flows. In general, deposition of proximal, base-of-slope deposits was followed by an aggradational basin-fill phase of sedimentation. With the waning of tectonic activity and the filling of the fault-bounded basin, depositon of shallow-marine sands resumed (the upper sandstone unit). The stratigraphic relations of the Hamill Group in the northern Selkirk Mountains are considered direct evidence for an episode of latest Proterozoic – Early Cambrian extensional tectonism. The evidence for an episode of rift-related tectonism in the northern Selkirk Mountains supports inferences concerning the timing of this event as derived from tectonic subsidence analyses of post-rift strata of the Cordilleran miogeocline.

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