Abstract

An internally consistent, levelled compilation of magnetic data is derived for Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. With Bouguer gravity data, this compilation is used to refine the definition of Precambrian basement domains within the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Magnetic data are draped at a constant distance above the mapped basement surface to reduce the effects of varying magnetic source depths. Automated interpretation methods that effectively map outlines of magnetic sources are used to characterize the internal structure of the domains and to aid in their delineation. The basement domain map thus derived differs from previous interpretations in the extension of domains further to the southwest, due mainly to the availability of new public-domain magnetic data and the more precise definition of domain boundaries, based on the magnetic source location maps. The Nahanni, Hottah, Chinchaga, Thorsby, Vulcan, and Kiskatinaw domains are weakly magnetic and characterized by magnetic sources that are paramagnetic, comprising low-susceptibility silicate minerals. All other domains are characterized by the presence of ferrimagnetic material, most likely magnetite, which has a sufficiently high susceptibility to produce measurable anomalies. The largest anomalies and magnetizations are found in the Fort Nelson, Fort Simpson, Buffalo Head, Talston, Ksituan, and Matzhiwin domains. Such large magnetizations are usually indicative of intermediate igneous rocks associated with magmatic arc environments. Moderate-amplitude anomalies and (or) magnetizations are characteristic of the Nova, Wabamun, Lacombe, Rimbey, Loverna, and Medicine Hat domains, suggesting the presence of ferrimagnetic basic and granitoid rocks. Within some of the moderately magnetic domains are areas of paramagnetic lithologies that produce no magnetic anomalies. The narrower regions of magnetic lows, such as the Thorsby, Kiskatinaw, and Vulcan domains, are interpreted as resulting from demagnetization effects accompanying collision. Since demagnetization zones are limited in areal extent, the wider, more extensive magnetic lows of the Chinchaga and Hottah domains likely result from a combination of boundary demagnetization and a lower bulk magnetization level of crustal lithologies present.

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