Abstract

The Grand Forks complex (GFC) is a metamorphic core complex within the composite Shuswap complex in the southern Omineca belt of the Canadian Cordillera. It is juxtaposed against the surrounding low-grade rocks of the pericratonic Quesnel terrane by outward-dipping Eocene normal faults. The GFC attained peak metamorphic conditions of 750–800 °C and 5.5–6.0 kbar (1 kbar = 100 MPa) in the late Paleocene to early Eocene, followed by ∼2.5 kbar of near-isothermal decompression at upper-amphibolite to granulite facies conditions (∼725–750 °C) in the early Eocene. Subsequent low-temperature greenschist-facies exhumation (∼0.7–1.5 kbar) was accommodated by the brittle–ductile Kettle River normal fault (KRF) on the east flank of the complex and the Granby fault (GF) on the west flank. This study presents 16 new 40Ar/39Ar hornblende and biotite dates from the GFC and low-grade rocks in the hanging walls to the KRF and GF. Cooling of the GFC through the closure temperature of hornblende (∼ 530 °C) is constrained to the interval between ∼54 and 51.4 ± 0.5 Ma, whereas cooling through the closure temperature of biotite (∼280 °C) occurred at 51.4 ± 0.2 Ma. In the hanging wall of the KRF, cooling through the closure temperature of hornblende and biotite occurred nearly coevally at 51.7 ± 0.6 Ma and 51.0 ± 1.0 Ma, respectively. Five apatite fission track dates (closure temperature ∼110 °C) from the GFC and adjacent hanging walls are indistinguishable within error, yielding an average age of 34.6 ± 2.0 Ma. The lack of difference in biotite and apatite ages between the GFC and the low-grade hanging wall rocks against which it is juxtaposed suggests no significant movement on the KRF and GF after ca. 51 Ma. Results from this study and a previous study on U–Pb dating of the GFC document rapid cooling of the GFC in excess of 200 °C/Ma in a 4 Ma interval between 55 and 51 Ma (Eocene). This rapid phase of exhumation of the GFC was followed by 15 Ma of slow cooling (∼10 °C/Ma) of the joined GFC and hanging wall between ∼280 °C (biotite closure) and ∼110 °C (apatite closure).

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