Abstract

The structure and stratigraphy of the southeast Nechako Basin, which are poorly understood primarily because of substantial volcanic cover, are investigated in an analysis of seismic reflection, well, and potential field data. Formation and development of the SE Nechako Basin resulted in sub-basins containing Cretaceous and Eocene rocks. Interpretation reveals that dextral transtension in the Early to Middle Eocene created NNW-trending, en echelon, strike-slip faults linked by pull-apart basins, which locally contain a thickness of Eocene volcaniclastic rocks of >3 km. This structural pattern is consistent with regional observations that suggest the transfer of slip from the Yalakom fault to the north via a series of en echelon strike-slip faults. In the Middle to Late Eocene, faults associated with a change in the direction of stress, echoed by the north-trending right-lateral Fraser fault, reactivated and cut earlier structures. A simple model agrees with local observations, that northeast-directed compression was subparallel to the relic Cretaceous grain. Cretaceous rocks are discontinuous throughout the basin and may be remnants of a broader basin, or a number of contemporaneous basins, formed in a regional transpressional tectonic setting that caused northeast-directed thrusting along the eastern side of the Coast Plutonic Complex. Results suggest that thrusting affected most of the SE Nechako Basin, as observed across the Intermontane Belt to the northwest and southeast. The pattern of deposition of Neogene volcanic rocks of the Chilcotin Group was in part controlled by the Eocene structural grain, but we find no evidence of Neogene deformation.

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