Abstract

Eocene volcanic rocks of the Buck Creek basin in central British Columbia are part of the Challis-Kamloops volcanic belt extending from the United States across British Columbia to central Yukon. The volcanic rocks include two units, the Buck Creek Formation, composed of high-K calc-alkaline rocks with predominant andesitic composition, and the overlying Swans Lake unit made up of intraplate tholeiitic basalts. Whole rock 40Ar/39Ar data for both units show that they were emplaced at 50 Ma. They have similar mantle-normalized trace element patterns characterized by a large-ion lithophile element enrichment and Nb-Ta depletion, similar chondrite-normalized rare earth element patterns with (La/Yb)n ~4-14 and heavy rare earth element fractionation, and overlapping epsilonNd values (2.4-3.1) and initial Sr-isotope ratios ( ~ 0.704). These features suggest derivation of these two units from a similar mantle source, probably garnet-bearing subcontinental lithosphere. The differences between tholeiitic and calc-alkaline suites can be due, in part, to differences in the depth of fractional crystallization and the crystallizing mineral assemblage. Fractional crystallization of the calc-alkaline magmas began at a greater (mid-crustal) depth and included fractionation of Fe-Ti oxides. The volcanic rocks are probably related to subduction of the Farallon plate under the North American continent in a regime characterized by transcurrent movements and strike-slip faulting.

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