Abstract

The Kootenay Arc has been interpreted as the western limit of autochthonous continental margin strata, west of which occur Paleozoic to Mesozoic rocks of uncertain paleogeographic origin. Recent mapping has demonstrated stratigraphic linkage between the Kootenay Arc strata and rocks farther west. A U–Pb study of detrital zircons using laser ablation – multicollector – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (LA–MC–ICP–MS) was undertaken in the upper succession of the Monashee complex mantling gneiss and in mid-Paleozoic strata of the Chase Formation exposed in the northern Kootenay Arc area and adjacent outboard strata. The predominance of >1.75 Ga zircon matches well with basement domains of the western buried North American craton and indicates that most of the grains were derived from a source of North American affinity. Zircon between 1.00 and 1.30 Ga demonstrates a Neoproterozoic source of possible “Grenville” affinity. Additional populations in the Chase Formation are mid-Paleozoic, Ediacaran, 800–1000 Ma, and 1400–1750 Ma. We interpret them to have been derived from exposed sources of Proterozoic continental crust and (or) proximal late Neoproterozoic and middle Paleozoic magmatic sources. The investigated Proterozoic and Paleozoic successions confirm sedimentologic and depositional relationships with the ancestral North American margin, and as such are interpreted to represent outboard extensions of the Cordilleran miogeoclinal succession.

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