Abstract

Stratigraphic, paleomagnetic, and radioisotope investigations of the Selkirk Volcanic Group have identified a new eruptive period and constrained the age of the Reid Glaciation, the most extensive middle Pleistocene cordilleran advance recognized in central Yukon. Downstream from Fort Selkirk, a complex of valley-filling compound pahoehoe basalt flows and pillow basalt is exposed for 10 km along the Yukon River and is overlain by outwash deposited during the Reid Glaciation. The flows have an 40Ar/39Ar age of 311 ± 32 ka. This age is consistent with the normal magnetization of the flows and their termination below the level of the contemporary Yukon River flood plain. Taken with the ca. 190 ka Sheep Creek tephra, which overlies Reid drift elsewhere in Yukon Territory, the Reid Glaciation is constrained to oxygen isotope stage 8, not stage 6 as previously thought. The presence of thick foreset-bedded pillow breccia units intercalated with the subaerial flows indicates that this eruption caused damming of the Yukon River. Reevaluation of the stratigraphy of early Pleistocene basalt flows and pillow lavas in the Fort Selkirk area indicates that volcanic damming of the Yukon River has occurred at least once previously.

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