Abstract

The late Paleozoic volcanic rocks of the northern Canadian Cordillera lying between Ancestral North America to the east and the accreted terranes of the Omineca belt to the west record early arc and rift magmatism along the paleo-Pacific margin of the North American craton. The Mississippian to Permian volcano-sedimentary Klinkit Group extends discontinuously over 250 km in northern British Columbia and southern Yukon. The two stratotype areas are as follows: (1) in the Englishman Range, southern Yukon, the English Creek Limestone is conformably overlain by the volcano-sedimentary Mount McCleary Formation (Lower Clastic Member, Alkali-Basalt Member and Volcaniclastic Member), and (2) in the Stikine Ranges, northern British Columbia, the Screw Creek Limestone is conformably overlain by the volcano-sedimentary Butsih Formation (Volcaniclastic Member and Upper Clastic Member). The calc-alkali nature of the basaltic volcaniclastic members of the Klinkit Group indicates a volcanic-arc setting ((La/Yb)N = 2.77−4.73), with little involvement of the crust in their genesis (εNd = +6.7 to +7.4). Alkali basalts in the Mount McCleary Formation ((La/Yb)N = 12.5−17.8) suggest periodic intra-arc rifting events. Broadly coeval and compositionally similar volcano-sedimentary assemblages occur in the basement of the Mesozoic Quesnel arc, north-central British Columbia, and in the pericratonic Yukon–Tanana composite terrane, central Yukon, suggesting that they all represent pieces of a single long-lived, late Paleozoic arc system that was dismembered prior to its accretion onto Ancestral North America. Therefore, Yukon–Tanana terrane is possibly the equivalent to the basement of Quesnel terrane, and the northern Quesnel terrane has a pericratonic affinity.

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