This article describes the regional effects of Cenozoic subduction along the outboard margin of the Northern Cordillera (Alaska, USA, and Western Canada), and thereby acquaints the reader with several chapters of the e-book Dynamic Geology of the Northern Cordillera (Alaska, Western Canada, and Adjacent Marine Areas). This article and the e-book are written for earth-science students and teachers. The level of writing for the article and the source e-book is that of popular science magazines, and readers are encouraged to share this article with students and laypersons.
The main thrust of the article is to present and describe a suite of ten regional topographic, bathymetric, and geologic maps, and two figures portraying deep-crustal sections that illustrate the regional effects of Cenozoic subduction along the outboard margin of the North American Cordillera. The regional maps and cross sections are described in a way that a teacher might describe a map to students.
Cenozoic subduction along the margin of the Northern Cordillera resulted in the formation of the following: (1) underthrusting of terranes and oceanic lithosphere beneath Southern Alaska; (2) landscapes, including narrow continental shelves along Southern and Southeastern Alaska and Western Canada (the Canadian Cordillera) and continental-margin mountain ranges, including the Alaska Peninsula, Chugach Range, Saint Elias Mountains, and Cascade Mountains; (3) sedimentary basins; (4) an array of active continental strike-slip and thrust faults (inboard of subduction zones); (5) earthquake belts related to subduction of terranes and oceanic plates; (6) active volcanoes, including continental-margin arcs (the Aleutian, Wrangell, and Cascade Arcs) linked to subduction zones, and interior volcanic belts related to strike-slip faulting or to hot spots; (7) lode and placer mineral deposits related to continental margin arcs or subduction of oceanic ridges; (8) hot springs related to continental-margin arcs; (9) plate movements as recorded from GPS measurements; and (10) underthrusting of terranes and oceanic lithosphere beneath the Northern Cordillera.