Abstract

Proterozoic gneisses of the Malton Complex in the vicinity of Valemount, British Columbia, occur in a series of lithologically and structurally complex, fault-bounded slices of crystalline basement and interleaved cover. Gneisses of the Malton Complex span the Southern Rocky Mountain Trench and underlie the western part of the Rocky Mountain fold and thrust belt and the eastern part of the Omineca Belt of the Canadian Cordillera. Structural and stratigraphic relationships indicate that they formed the basement upon which an enigmatic quartzite unit and the Late Proterozoic Windermere Supergroup were deposited.The Yellowjacket and Bulldog gneisses, on the east side of the Rocky Mountain Trench, have yielded four U–Pb zircon crystallization ages of ca. 1870 Ma, with εNd(T) values of −2.6 to −3.4. The Hugh Allan gneiss, also on the east side of the trench but separated from the Yellowjacket gneiss by a major thrust fault, includes leucocratic granite gneiss having a zircon U–Pb age of graphic, which has intruded an older (undated) lithologically heterogeneous assemblage of gneiss. The basal Windermere succession of the Valemount region is inferred to be younger than ca. 740 Ma, since these intrusions are not found within the Late Proterozoic stratified rocks.Augen granitoid orthogneiss of the Malton Range on the west side of the Rocky Mountain Trench has been dated as graphic using zircons. A second sample yields data suggesting an age between 2050 and 2100 Ma, but its interpretation is uncertain because of scatter in analyses and possible zircon inheritance. The latter sample has an εNd(T) at 1990 Ma of −2.6. Nd model ages for the Malton, Yellowjacket, and Bulldog samples range from 2.45 to 2.56 Ga, indicating that the igneous protoliths were derived from a source that probably had some component of Archean crustal material involved.The U–Pb ages and Nd model ages are quite similar to those of rocks underlying portions of Alberta and the western Canadian Shield, specifically the Fort Simpson terrane, the Great Bear magmatic zone, and parts of the Thelon–Taltson arc. This evidence, as well as structural and stratigraphic arguments, links the Malton Complex gneisses with those of the Canadian Shield, precluding their derivation by large-magnitude displacements from the southwestern United States. Structural analysis indicates that they restore to locations 100–200 km southwest of their present exposure.Structural, stratigraphic, and isotopic data indicate that the Southern Rocky Mountain Trench is not a suture.

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