Abstract

An integrated geophysical data set has been used to develop structural models across the continental margin west of Vancouver Island, Canada. A modern accretionary complex underlies the continental slope and shelf and rests against and below the allochthonous Crescent and Pacific Rim terranes. These terranes in turn abut against the pre-Tertiary Wrangellia terrane that constitutes most of the island. Gravity and magnetic anomaly data, constrained by seismic reflection, seismic refraction, and other data, were interpreted to determine the offshore positions of these terranes and related features. Iterative 2.5-dimensional forward models of anomaly profiles were stepped laterally along the margin to extend areal coverage over a 70 km wide swath oriented normal to the tectonic features. An average model was then developed to represent this part of the margin. The Pacific Rim terrane appears to be continuous and close to the coastline along the length of Vancouver Island, consistent with emplacement by strike-slip motion along the margin. The Westcoast fault, the boundary between the Pacific Rim and Wrangellia terranes, is interpreted to be 15 km farther seaward than in previous interpretations in the region of Barkley Sound. The Crescent terrane forms a thin landward-dipping slab along the southern half of the Vancouver Island margin, and cannot be confirmed along the northern part. Model results suggest the slab has buckled into an anticline beneath southern Vancouver Island and Juan de Fuca Strait, uplifting high-density lower crustal or upper mantle material close to the surface to produce the observed intense positive gravity anomaly. This geometry is consistent with emplacement of the Crescent terrane by oblique subduction.

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