Abstract

The Intermontane-Insular superterrane boundary zone represents a fundamental crustal boundary separating the two largest allochthonous crustal fragments in the North American Cordillera. Structural, stratigraphic, and geochronologic relations along this boundary indicate that substantial west-vergent compression and concomitant crustal thickening occurred there in mid-Cretaceous time. This orogenic zone extends for more than 1200 km along strike length, between southern southeast Alaska and northern Washington. In southern southeast Alaska and northwest British Columbia, rocks of the Insular superterrane were imbricated along a series of west- to southwest-vergent thrust faults. In northern Washington and southwestern British Columbia, a wide zone encompassing the margins of the two superterranes, as well as numerous intervening smaller fragments, was shortened principally along west-vergent thrusts. Known geologic relations do not discriminate among existing tectonic models that explain the origin of the mid-Cretaceous thrust system.

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