Abstract

Zircon U-Pb geochronometry of orthogneisses and plutons in the southwestern crystalline core of the North Cascades, coupled with fabric and textural studies of the orthogneisses, plutons, and their metamorphic host rocks, indicates extensive synmetamorphic plutonism at 89-96 Ma. Metamorphic mineral assemblages define a culmination composed of an axial kyanitesillimanite zone rimmed by lower grade zones. High-grade index minerals are typically syntectonic to posttectonic. Metamorphic fabrics are characterized by an orogenparallel, northwest-striking, steep foliation that contains a subhorizontal stretching and mineral lineation interpreted to be the product of ductile strike-slip deformation. This fabric is crosscut by 96-92 Ma plutons yet is imprinted on 92-89 Ma orthogneisses, suggesting spatially diachronous fabric development during orogeny. Documentation of the spatial and temporal coincidence of magmatism with the peak of orogeny, together with the kinematic significance of the metamorphic fabric, precludes generation of the metamorphic fabric and plutons in response to thrust loading. We suggest that this part of the Coast Plutonic Complex evolved as a transpressional magmatic arc.

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