Abstract

Walker Creek fault zone (WCFZ), well exposed in the western Rocky Mountains of central British Columbia near 54°, comprises a 2 km wide zone of variably deformed Neoproterozoic and Cambrian strata in fault-bounded slivers and lozenges. Extensional shear bands, subhorizontal extension lineations, slickensides, mesoscopic shear bands, and other minor structures developed within and immediately adjacent to the fault zone consistently indicate right-lateral displacement. Offset stratigraphic changes in correlative Neoproterozoic strata indicate at least 60 km of right-lateral displacement across the zone. WCFZ is the southern continuation of the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench (NRMT) fault zone. It shows a through going, moderate displacement, strike-slip fault system structurally links the NRMT and the north-central part of the Southern Rocky Mountain Trench. Strike-slip motion on the WCFZ occurred in the Late Cretaceous to Early Eocene at the same time as northeast-directed shortening in the fold-and-thrust belt. Thus, oblique convergence in the eastern part of the south-central Canadian Cordillera was apparently resolved into parallel northwest-striking zones of strike-slip and thrust faulting during the Late Cretaceous to Early Eocene. The change in the net Late Cretaceous to Early Eocene displacement direction for rocks in the Rocky Mountain trenches from north (56–54°N) to northeast (52–49°N) suggests that the disappearance of strike-slip displacement and increase in fold-and-thrust belt shortening in the eastern Cordillera between 56° and 49°N is largely the result of a north–south change in relative plate motion or strain partitioning across the Cordillera, rather than the southward transformation of right-lateral strike-slip displacement on the Tintina – NRMT fault system into compressional deformation.

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