The Skagit Gneiss Complex forms a more-or-less continuous terrane within the northern, more deeply eroded part of the North Cascade Range. The complex comprises abundant plutons intruded at mid-crustal depths into a variety of metamorphosed supracrustal rocks of both oceanic and volcanic-arc origin. A plethora of syntectonic pegmatite, small plutons, and granitic dikes gives the complex a migmatitic aspect.

U-Pb zircon ages from gneissic plutons within and near the Skagit Gneiss Complex indicate magmatic crystallization between 75 and 60 Ma. Deformation, recrystallization, and migmatization in part postdate intrusion of the 75-60 Ma plutons. This latest Cretaceous and earliest Tertiary plutonism and migmatization may reflect thermal relaxation following early Late Cretaceous orogeny documented else-where in the North Cascades.

The complex was ductilely extended northwest-southeast shortly after intrusion of granite dikes at ∼45 Ma, but before emplacement of the earliest (∼34 Ma) plutons of the Cascade arc. Outcrops of Late Cretaceous and earliest Tertiary plutons, migmatites of the Skagit Gneiss Complex, and rocks with young ductile deformation are roughly coextensive, all apparently marking a region of greater middle Eocene unroofing. Unroofing was apparently contemporaneous with east-west extension in the Okanogan region to the east and north-south and northwest-southeast strike-slip faulting within the North Cascades.

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