Abstract

West of Prince George, British Columbia, the Cache Creek Terrane is composed of mafic lavas interlayered with both mid-Permian pelagic limestones and Upper Triassic siliceous shales and greywackes. Gabbro, basalt, dolerites, and foliated clinopyroxene-rich ultramafic rocks are exposed within the Pinchi Fault system. The mid-Permian lavas show affinities of oceanic island tholeiites. Among the Triassic lavas, three types of rocks have been distinguished. Type 1 is geochemically similar to the mid-Permian volcanic rocks. Type 2 differs from type 1 by higher TiO2 abundances and convex rare earth element patterns. Type 3 has the highest Zr, Nb, and Ta abundances and the greatest light rare earth element enrichment. The mafic rocks within the Pinchi Fault system are similar to N-type mid-oceanridge basalt (N-MORB), and the foliated ultramafic rocks are characterized by very low trace element contents, similar to extremely depleted harzburgites. Permian lavas and Triassic type 1 and igneous rocks from the Pinchi Fault system have the highest εNd(i) ratios (+7.4 to +9.6) and those of type 3 alkali have the lowest ratios (+2.0 to +5.3). The εNd(i) values of type 2 are intermediate between those of type 1 (∼7) and type 3 (∼4.9). This suggests that the Triassic rocks generated from a heterogeneous plume source or the mixing between depleted N-MORB and enriched oceanic island basalt sources. If the mafic igneous rocks sampled in central British Columbia are representative of the preserved parts of an oceanic crust, within the Cache Creek Terrane, then that crust was dominated by oceanic plateau components, perhaps due to the difficulty of subducting thick crust.

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