Abstract

The Kilbuck terrane in southwestern Alaska is a narrow, thin crustal sliver or flake of amphibolite facies orthogneiss. The igneous protolith of this gneiss was a suite of subduction-related platonic rocks. U-Pb data on zircons from trondhjemitic and granitic samples yield upper-intercept (igneous) ages of 2070 ±16 and 2040 ±74 Ma, respectively. Nd isotope data from these rocks suggest that a diorite-tonalite-trondhjemite suite (εNd [T] = +2.1 to +2.7; T is time of crystallization) evolved from partial melts of depleted mantle with no discernible contamination by older crust, whereas a coeval granitic pluton (εNd [T] = -5.7) contains a significant component derived from Archean crust. Orthogneisses with similar age and Nd isotope characteristics are found in the Idono complex 250 km to the north. Early Proterozoic rocks are unknown elsewhere in Alaska. However, Phanerozoic plutons cutting several "continental" terranes in Alaska (southern Brooks Range and Ruby, Seward, and Yukon-Tanana terranes) have Nd isotope compositions indicative of Early Proterozoic (or older) crustal components that could be correlative with rocks of the Kilbuck terrane. Rocks with similar igneous ages in cratonal North America are rare, and those few that are known have Nd isotope compositions distinct from those of the Kilbuck terrane. Conversely, provinces with Nd model ages off 2.0-2.1 Ga are characterized by extensive 1.8 Ga or younger plutonism, which is unknown in the Kilbuck terrane. At present the case for a North American parentage of the Kilbuck terrane is not compelling. The possibility that the Kilbuck terrane was displaced from provinces off similar age in other cratons (e.g., Australian, Baltic, Guiana, and west African shields), or from the poorly dated Siberian craton, cannot be excluded.

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