Abstract

In the Middle Jurassic Nelson Batholith, southern British Columbia, young 40Ar/39Ar ages (i.e., 50–60 Ma) and distorted isobaric surfaces in the batholith suggest the possibility of Paleocene granitic plutonism. We present the results of a study undertaken to evaluate this possibility. Geochemical criteria successfully distinguish a suite of granitoids within the Nelson Batholith that differ from Nelson granites of similar SiO2 content. The granitoid suite is composed of 71.6–75.7 wt.% SiO2 leucocratic biotite granite and quartz monzonite with strong enrichments in alkaline, alkaline earth, and rare earth elements. Nd and Pb isotopic compositions suggest that biotite granite and quartz monzonite are not related. Biotite granite yields a U–Pb age of 158.9 ± 0.6 Ma (concordant zircons). Quartz monzonite crystallized at 61 ± 1 Ma, based on interpretation of titanite and zircon analyses. Zircons from this sample lie along a line from 61 to 160 Ma and demonstrate the presence of Middle Jurassic inheritance. Based on its petrographic and isotopic similarity to other Middle Jurassic plutons in the Nelson Batholith – Valhalla Complex area, we include the 159 Ma biotite granite with the Jurassic plutonic suite. This result demonstrates that magmatism in southern British Columbia was active at least until the early Late Jurassic (Oxfordian). The Paleocene (61 Ma) quartz monzonite that intrudes the southern Nelson Batholith is the structurally highest occurrence of "Ladybird" granite yet documented in southern British Columbia. Comparison of new and published geochemical and isotopic data for Paleocene granitoids throughout the southern Omineca Belt, British Columbia, suggests that these granitoids were not derived from a single, old crustal source.

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