Abstract

Triassic rocks of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) have previously been interpreted as being deposited on the passive margin of North America. Recent detrital zircon provenance studies on equivalent Triassic rocks in the Yukon have suggested that these rocks were in part derived from the pericratonic Yukon–Tanana terrane and were deposited in a foreland basin related to the Late Permian Klondike orogeny. Detrital zircons within a number of samples collected from Triassic sediments of the WCSB throughout northeastern British Columbia and western Alberta suggest that the bulk of the sediment was derived from recycled sediments of the miogeocline along western North America, with a smaller but significant proportion coming from the Innuitian orogenic wedge in the Arctic and from local plutonic and volcanic rocks. There is also evidence of sediment being derived from the Yukon–Tanana terrane, supporting the model of terrane accretion occurring prior to the Triassic. The age distribution of detrital zircons from the WCSB in British Columbia is similar to those of the Selwyn and Earn sub-basins in the Yukon and is in agreement with previous observations that sediment deposited along the margin of North America during the Triassic was derived from similar source areas. Together these findings support the model of deposition within a foreland basin, similar to the one inferred in the Yukon. Only a small proportion of zircon derived from the Yukon–Tanana terrane is present within Triassic strata in northeastern British Columbia, which may be due to post-Triassic erosion of the rocks containing these zircons.

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