Abstract

The Tertiary (Paleogene and Neogene) geological record in south-central Canadian Cordillera is dominated by the 350–400 km wide, lower Eocene volcanic arc and the overlying Miocene–Recent back-arc lavas that are separated by a hiatus in magmatic activity between 48 and 24 Ma. In the Black Dome area (∼240 km north of Vancouver), the Eocene volcanic rocks are mainly continental margin calc-alkaline andesite and dacite, resulting from the melting of a juvenile mafic source at the base of the crust. In contrast, the Miocene volcanic rocks resemble continental flood basalts. Both Eocene and Miocene rocks from the Black Dome volcanic complex have high positive εNd values (+7.2 to +7.4 and +6.4 to +7.6, respectively) and low initial Sr isotopic ratios (0.702 516 – 0.703 528 and 0.703 376 – 0.703 392, respectively) comparable to modern oceanic basalts. The onset of the hiatus in magmatism at 48 Ma coincides with capture of the Kula Plate by the Pacific Plate resulting in a change in convergence direction with the North American Plate from orthogonal to margin-parallel. The margin-parallel motion is inferred to have removed a 50–100 km sliver of the Eocene forearc that formed the boundary between the Pacific and subducted Kula Plate. Reinitiation of arc magmatism at 24 Ma is related to subduction of the Farallon and associated plates and it superimposed back-arc tholeiitic magmatism on top of the Eocene arc.

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