Abstract

Geological, isotopic, and geochronology studies carried out by university and government researchers, concurrently with the Lithoprobe program, have greatly refined our understanding of the regional geology, crustal structure, and tectonics of the Omineca Belt. Sound correlations have been established between surface geology and seismic reflection data. Cretaceous–Eocene thrust faults that are imaged in the subsurface in the Shuswap complex may be part of a break-forward thrust system that feeds into the Purcell Anticlinorium and the Foreland Belt. The Monashee décollement is the western continuation of the sole thrust beneath the Foreland Belt and provides a means of linking shortening across the entire orogen. The thermal peak of metamorphism in the central and southern Shuswap complex is now known to have occurred in the Late Cretaceous–Paleogene in contrast with earlier held views. North American basement rocks are now known to extend beneath the eastern half of the Canadian Cordillera. Geochronology studies have revealed Early Proterozoic and Late Cretaceous–Eocene metamorphism in basement rocks of the Monashee complex, and suggest that these rocks were located to the east of the metamorphic front throughout the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous. Anatectic peraluminous granites were produced in the Shuswap complex between 135 and 52 Ma in response to pulses of crustal thickening and heating, and in some cases served to localize Eocene extensional shear zones and to transfer extensional displacement from one shear zone to another. A flat Moho and other seismic reflection data are consistent with interpretations of lower crustal flow to balance early Tertiary extension in the upper crust. Crustal-scale extension and the Slocan Lake fault zone provided the source and setting for Ag–Pb–Zn–Au mineralization in the Nelson–Silverton area.

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