Abstract

The northern Cascadia subduction zone is a region of convergence between the oceanic Explorer and northern Juan de Fuca plates and the continental North American plate. Potential field and new seismic reflection data coupled with previous seismic results and geology enable derivation of a series of density – magnetic susceptibility cross sections and a block density model from the ocean basin to the volcanic arc from 2.5- and 3-dimensional interpretations. The lateral extent and thickness of the accreted wedge vary significantly along the zone. The narrow, metasedimentary Pacific Rim terrane lies immediately west of Wrangellia and extends the length of Vancouver Island, consistent with its emplacement by strike-slip faulting following the accretion of Wrangellia. The ophiolitic Crescent terrane is a narrow slice lying seaward of the Pacific Rim terrane but not extending northward beyond the Juan de Fuca plate. In this region, the Crescent terrane was emplaced in a strike-slip or obliquely convergent style during the latter stages of emplacement of Pacific Rim terrane. Below the accreted terranes, the Explorer plate is shallower than Juan de Fuca plate, resulting in a thinner crust. High-density lower crustal material lies beneath the western edge of Vancouver Island, supporting interpretations of wide-scale underplating of Wrangellia. The shape of the boundary region between Wrangellia and the Coast belt to the east varies along strike and may be controlled by properties of preexisting plutonic rocks. The low-density Coast belt plutons extend throughout most of the crust and are underlain by a lowermost crustal high-density layer, which may be indicative of fractionation accompanying magma generation.

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