Abstract

U–Pb geochronologic studies demonstrate that steeply dipping, sheetlike tonalitic plutons along the western margin of the northern Coast Mountains batholith were emplaced between ~83 and ~57 (perhaps ~55) Ma. Less elongate tonalitic–granodioritic bodies in central portions of the batholith yield ages of 59–58 Ma, coeval with younger phases of the tonalitic sheets. Large granite–granodiorite bodies in central and eastern portions of the batholith were emplaced at 51–48 Ma. Trends in ages suggest that the tonalitic bodies generally become younger southeastward and that, at the latitude of Juneau, plutonism migrated northeastward across the batholith at ~0.9 km/Ma. Variations in the age, shape, location, and degree of fabric development among the various plutons indicate that Late Cretaceous – Paleocene tonalitic bodies were emplaced into a steeply dipping, dip-slip shear zone that was active along the western margin of the batholith. Postkinematic Eocene plutons were emplaced at shallow crustal levels. Inherited zircon components in these plutons range in age from mid-Paleozoic to Early Proterozoic and are coeval with detrital zircons in adjacent metasedimentary rocks. These old zircons, combined with evolved Nd isotopic signatures for most plutons, record assimilation of continental crustal or supracrustal rocks during the generation and (or) ascent of the plutons.

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