Abstract

Nd isotopes and trace elements in sedimentary rocks of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and northern British Columbia are used to examine the source of sediments in the Canadian Cordilleran miogeocline. Previous Nd isotope studies in southern Alberta demonstrated that strata of Neoproterozoic to Late Ordovician age were derived from Archean and Proterozoic Canadian Shield sources, whereas by the Late Devonian, a shift of 6 εNd units to younger crustal sources (εNd (T) = −6 to −9) had occurred. In this study, we found that the shift to younger crustal Nd isotopic signatures in the Yukon and Northwest Territories occurred much earlier than in southern Alberta. Cambrian and older strata have εNd(T) values of −10.0 to −21.1, consistent with derivation from Canadian Shield sources. Lower Ordovician through Permian strata in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, including the Innuitian-derived Imperial Assemblage, have εNd(T) values of −5 to −11.4. In northern British Columbia, the shift to a younger source reflects a wider range of εNd(T) values, from -−8.7 to −14.6 in Middle Ordovician through Middle Devonian strata, suggesting continued input from Canadian Shield sources. By the Middle Devonian, a complete shift to younger crustal signatures (εNd(T) = −5.9 to −10.5) had occurred in northern British Columbia. Several sources for the more juvenile sediments include (1) a mixture of locally erupted volcanic rocks with Canadian Shield sources, (2) a Grenville source, and (3) an Innuitian source. We propose that Ordovician to Lower Devonian strata were derived from a mixture of locally erupted, juvenile volcanics and pre-Cambrian Canadian Shield sources, and post-Middle Devonian strata were sourced from the Innuitian orogen in the Canadian Arctic.

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