Abstract

The Border Ranges fault system of southern Alaska, the fundamental break between the arc basement and the forearc accretionary complex, is the boundary between the Peninsular–Alexander–Wrangellia terrane and the Chugach terrane. The fault system separates crystalline rocks of the Alexander terrane from metamorphic rocks of the Chugach terrane in Glacier Bay National Park. Mylonitic rocks in the zone record abundant evidence for dextral strike-slip motion along north-northwest-striking subvertical surfaces. Geochronologic data together with regional correlations of Chugach terrane rocks involved in the deformation constrain this movement between latest Cretaceous and Early Eocene (~50 Ma). These findings are in agreement with studies to the northwest and southeast along the Border Ranges fault system which show dextral strike-slip motion occurring between 58 and 50 Ma. Correlations between Glacier Bay plutons and rocks of similar ages elsewhere along the Border Ranges fault system suggest that as much as 700 km of dextral motion may have been accommodated by this structure. These observations are consistent with oblique convergence of the Kula plate during early Cenozoic and forearc slivering above an ancient subduction zone following late Mesozoic accretion of the Peninsular–Alexander–Wrangellia terrane to North America.

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