Abstract

U-Pb ages of detrital zircon suites from Paleozoic strata in the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane (AAC), Alexander terrane, northern Sierra terrane, and eastern Klamath terrane of the North American Cordillera suggest an exotic Gondwana or Baltic origin. We evaluate these hypotheses with U-Pb ages of detrital zircon suites from Cambrian–Devonian strata of northern Baltica. Precambrian zircon populations (ca. 0.8–3.0 Ga) from Baltica compare well with similar age detritus in the AAC and Cordilleran terranes, but the amount and age of younger Neoproterozoic and Ordovician–Silurian components are variable. The AAC shares its stratigraphy with Baltica and has the most similar detrital zircon suites. Closing the Arctic places the AAC against the Lomonosov Ridge and the edge of Baltica in pre-Cretaceous time. After the Caledonian orogeny and before the Ural Mountains formed, the Baltica, AAC, and Cordilleran margins shared a Devonian–Carboniferous rift history and became along-strike portions of a Carboniferous–Permian continental margin. This rifting event might have been responsible for the initial separation of Baltica and Caledonian affinity terranes from this margin.

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