Abstract

The Valhalla complex, a Cordilleran metamorphic core complex, is a domal culmination made up of gently dipping interlayered sheets of igneous and supracrustal rocks that were deformed and metamorphosed in the Middle Jurassic and Late Cretaceous, and exhumed by extensional faults in the Eocene. Mapping, fabric, and metamorphic studies of predominantly metasedimentary rocks in Valhalla and Passmore domes in the northern part of the complex, together with published geochronological data, reveal a significant Late Cretaceous tectonic history. This includes extensive magmatism, the culmination of upper amphibolite facies metamorphism (approx. 800°C and 8 GPa), migmatization, development of a dominant penetrative transposition foliation, and localization of strain on ductile thrust faults termed the Gwillim Creek shear zones. The Valhalla assemblage, a package of metasedimentary rocks in Valhalla and Passmore domes, comprises a heterogeneous sequence of pelitic schist, marble, calc-silicate gneiss, psammitic gneiss, metaconglomerate, quartzite, amphibolite gneiss, and ultramafic rocks. Based on the presence of distinct laterally continuous marker units and similar lithologic ordering, we propose that the Valhalla assemblage is correlative with part of the Palaeozoic North American stratigraphic succession. If this is correct, then the Valhalla assemblage represents an inverted sequence of strata that has been thinned by as much as 60%; thinning may have occurred during Late Cretaceous transposition foliation development. The Gwillim Creek shear zones, originally mapped in a restricted locality in Gwillim Creek, were found to merge into one broad, ductile shear zone beneath Valhalla dome and extend throughout the entire Valhalla complex. The general style and timing of Late Cretaceous deformation in the Valhalla complex is characteristic of that found throughout the Shuswap complex in a belt of rocks that were at mid-crustal levels during the Cretaceous. This zone is thought to have accommodated Cretaceous - Early Tertiary shortening in the eastern Cordillera, and is the ductile equivalent of the higher level Rocky Mountain thrust belt to the east.

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