Abstract

New detrital mineral age and whole-rock geochemical data provide the first constraints on the composition and source of North American Triassic strata in the northern Canadian Cordillera. Conodont-bearing Triassic strata collected from five locations across west-central to southeastern Yukon contain trace-element ratios ((La/Yb)N = ∼8; Eu/Eu* = ∼0.66), εNd(248 Ma) values (–9 to –10), and detrital zircon ages (400–680, 980–1200, 1500–1650, 1800–2000 Ma) that correspond with those of coeval rocks in the Canadian Arctic Islands and the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin of British Columbia and Alberta. The majority of detrital zircons were cannibalized from Ellesmerian clastic wedge and western Laurentian margin strata and recycled into Triassic rocks. Conspicuous early Paleozoic and Neoproterozoic detrital zircons may have been ultimately derived from allochthonous rocks of Caledonian–Baltican affinity in northern North America, such as the Pearya and Arctic Alaska – Chukotka terranes. One Early Triassic unit in eastern Yukon contains ca. 360 Ma detrital muscovite, and samples from several localities include single-grain occurrences of Mississippian detrital zircon. Mississippian detrital mineral ages likely record a partial source from mid-Paleozoic rocks of the allochthonous Slide Mountain and Yukon–Tanana terranes following their Late Permian – Early Triassic emplacement onto the Cordilleran margin. More substantial evidence of terrane-derived sediment deposited along the North American margin may be further identified within Triassic strata that are exposed to the west (outboard) of our sample sites, immediately adjacent to the Slide Mountain and Yukon–Tanana terranes.

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