Abstract

The Sylvester Allochthon is a composite klippe of upper Paleozoic ophiolitic, island-arc, and pericratonic assemblages, which rests directly on the Cassiar terrane, a displaced sliver of Ancestral North America. Each tectonic assemblage occurs at a distinct and consistent structural level within the allochthon. They are assigned, respectively, to the Slide Mountain, Harper Ranch, and Yukon–Tanana terranes. The Sylvester Allochthon provides a view of the structural relationships between these terranes prior to Early Cretaceous – early Tertiary strike-slip dismemberment, as well as possible sedimentological links to late Paleozoic North America. Slide Mountain Terrane assemblages, designated divisions I and II, form the lowest structural panels. Chert – quartz sandstones are interbedded with Lower Mississippian deep-water sediments in division I and ocean-floor basalts and deep-water sediments in division II. They are similar in age and character to sandstones in the autochthonous Earn Group. Division II assemblages represent atypical oceanic crust and upper mantle assemblages. Continuous basalt–sedimentary sequences, well dated by conodont faunas, span Early Mississippian to mid-Permian time. Feeders for the basalts are sills rather than sheeted dyke swarms, suggesting very slow spreading and high(?) sedimentation rates in a marginal-basin setting. These supracrustal sequences are thrust-imbricated with ultramafite–gabbro panels. Division II is in part overlain by a Triassic siliciclastic and limy sedimentary sequence, which resembles the basal Takla Group, Slocan Group, and autochthonous Triassic units. Division III occupies the highest structural levels in the allochthon. With one exception, thrust sheets within it consist of Pennsylvanian to Upper Permian mixed calc-alkaline volcanic and plutonic rocks, chert, tuff, and limestone, assigned to the Harper Ranch Terrane. One panel, assigned to the Yukon–Tanana Terrane, consists of an Early Mississippian quartz diorite pluton with Precambrian inheritance that intrudes older volcanogenic sediments, pyroclastics, limestone, and siliciclastic sediments. Preferred pre-Mesozoic restoration of these terrane elements shows a Harper Ranch arc, built partly on pericratonic Yukon–Tanana and partly on primitive oceanic basement (division III), which is separated from North America by the Slide Mountain marginal basin (divisions I and II).

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