Abstract

The Late Cretaceous Carmacks Group, a thick subaerial volcanic succession that once covered much of southwest Yukon, was deposited on an uplifted terrane and is divisible into a lower fragmental unit and an upper flood basalt unit. Coeval hydrothermal activity resulted in widespread alteration and gold mineralization. The lavas are shoshonites, enriched in large ion lithophile and light rare earth elements, but depleted in high field strength elements. Ankaramitic absarokite flows in the upper Carmacks Group range up to 15 wt% MgO, requiring a high liquidus temperature (1400 °C at 1 bar, dry). High K2O contents (>3%) of these magnesian lavas indicate that the potassic character of the volcanic suite was established in the mantle. Although previously interpreted as subduction related, the Carmacks Group was erupted during a Cordilleran-wide magmatic lull and lacks coeval calc-alkalic batholiths. The lavas are petrologically similar to plume-related Eocene to Pliocene potassic lavas of the western United States.

New paleomagnetic collections, combined with previous work, place the Carmacks Group 17.2° ± 6.5° (1900 ± 700 km) south of its present position relative to the craton during deposition, near the paleolocation of the Yellowstone hotspot. The spatial coincidence, similarity of tectonic setting, and lithologic similarity of the Carmacks Group and Yellowstone volcanic successions suggest that the Carmacks Group is the 70 Ma effusion of the Yellowstone hotspot. Subsequent northward displacement of the Carmacks Group is attributed to coupling with the Kula plate. Correlation of the Carmacks Group and the Yellowstone hotspot fixes the paleolatitude and the paleolongitude of the terranes of the northern Intermontane belt at 70 Ma.

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