Abstract

The Valhalla complex, situated in the Omineca crystalline belt in southeastern British Columbia, is a Cordilleran metamorphic core complex bordering the suture zone between Quesnellia and North American rocks. The region is tectonically interposed between a convergent plate margin along Canada's west coast and the stable North American craton, and is characterized by a crustal thickness of ~ 35 km, high surface heat flux, and elevated lower crustal electrical conductivity. In this study, Lithoprobe deep-crustal seismic-reflection data, potential-field data, and geological constraints have been used to gain a better understanding of crustal structure in the vicinity of the Valhalla complex. Analysis of Bouguer gravity and total-field aeromagnetic data indicates that mafic oceanic rocks and various syn- and post-accretionary granitoid plutonic rocks are not major constituents of the upper crust underlying the complex. The seismic data reveal a moderately reflective upper crust and image several fault zones, including a very high amplitude, west-dipping reflection that is interpreted as a significant Late Cretaceous or Paleocene thrust fault. The fault-zone reflectivity may be related to compositional heterogeneity and (or) seismic anisotropy associated with mylonites. The lower crust appears to be nonreflective, in contrast with other areas of high surface heat flux and elevated lower crustal conductivity. Taken together, the various data show that the Valhalla complex is likely cored by North American metasedimentary rocks and reveal features related to the Jurassic to Paleocene compressional fabric, which has been largely overprinted at the surface by subsequent Eocene extension.

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