Abstract

We use field relationships, paleoflow indicators, petrography, and major and trace element mineral chemistry to examine the protolith and provenance of detrital mantle-derived ultrahigh pressure (UHP—2.8 GPa) minerals in immature clastic sediments of an Early Jurassic basin (Laberge Group) in northwestern British Columbia, Canada. Our results show that fresh mantle detritus in the Laberge Group was derived from mantle lithosphere that equilibrated at >2.8 GPa and temperatures of 850–1100 °C, exhumed in orogenic massifs and quickly deposited over a restricted time interval. Two models are proposed for the exhumation and denudation of the UHP rocks in either (1) an arc-continent collision between the Stikinia and Yukon Tanana terranes, or (2) an exposed forearc and accretionary mélange in a convergent margin in the Cache Creek terrane. A collision between the Stikinia and Yukon Tanana terranes has not previously been documented, but this scenario is the most consistent with widespread evidence for rapid exposure of deep-seated rocks at the required time period for deposition of UHP detritus ca. 185 Ma.

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