Abstract

The Coast Belt of the northern Cordillera in Canada is the locus of the boundary between accreted and ancient North American margin rocks. The largest exposure of metasedimentary rocks in the Coast Belt is the Kluane metamorphic assemblage (KMA), a northwest-striking belt 160 km long of graphitic mica–quartz schist and gneiss with minor interfoliated olivine serpentinite. The KMA does not appear to correlate with other sedimentary or metamorphic rock assemblages in the Canadian Cordillera. To determine its tectonic setting and protolith provenance, we analyzed trace element, rare earth elements, and neodymium isotope compositions of the KMA, of the adjacent pericratonic Aishihik metamorphic suite (AMS) of the Yukon–Tanana terrane, and of adjacent slates of the Dezadeash Formation (DF), filling a Late Jurassic – Early Cretaceous flysch basin. The εNd(0) values of analyzed KMA samples range from –1.4 to –5.6 and depleted mantle model ages (TDM) range from 1.16 to 1.45 Ga. KMA samples are intermediate between more evolved AMS samples (average εNd(0) –25, TDM = 2.6 Ga) and more juvenile DF samples (εNd(0) = +1.9, TDM = 0.95 Ga). The intermediate characteristics of the KMA samples cannot be linked to a known source region and are interpreted to reflect homogeneous mixing from predominantly juvenile and minor evolved sedimentary sources. A compatible tectonic setting is a back-arc basin within influence of a continental source. Eastward subduction of the KMA beneath ancient North America collapsed the back-arc basin by latest Cretaceous time.

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