Abstract

New mapping, mineralogical, and geochemical studies help characterize late Tertiary primitive, alkaline, sodic basanite, alkali olivine basalt, transitional basalt, and diabase in the Nechako River, Whitesail Lake, and McLeod Lake map areas of central British Columbia and distinguish the Miocene Cheslatta Lake suite. The suite encompasses scattered erosional remnants of topographically distinct, columnar-jointed, olivine-phyric basalt and diabase volcanic necks, dykes, and associated lava flows north of the Anahim volcanic belt and west of the Pinchi Fault. Volcanic centres at Alasla Mountain and at Cutoff Creek, near Cheslatta Lake, are proposed as type areas. Olivine, plagioclase, and pyroxene phenocrysts, megacrysts, and (or) xenocrysts; common ultramafic xenoliths; and rare but significant plutonic and metamorphic xenoliths are characteristic. Basanite, transitional basalt, and alkali olivine basalt groundmass contain plagioclase, clinopyroxene, Fe-Ti oxides, feldspathoid, olivine, and apatite. The Cheslatta Lake suite is characterized by its alkaline character, olivine-rich (>10 wt.%) normative mineralogy, and silica-undersaturated nature (>1 wt.% normative nepheline; hypersthene-normative rocks are uncommon). Mg numbers vary between 72–42. Some samples encompass near-primitive mantle melt compositions. Cheslatta Lake suite rocks in the Nechako River area are distinguished from the underlying Eocene Endako and stratigraphically higher Neogene Chilcotin groups basaltic andesite lavas within the study area, and from the Chilcotin Group basalt in the type area south of the Anahim volcanic belt, by form, preserved thickness, phenocryst–xenocryst mineralogy, amygdule abundance, included xenoliths, isotopic age, and major and incompatible, high field strength, and rare-earth trace element contents.

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