Abstract

The composite Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane plays a central role in tectonic reconstructions of the Arctic. An exotic, non-Laurentian origin of Arctic Alaska–Chukotka has been proposed based on paleobiogeographic faunal affinities and various geochronological constraints from the southwestern portions of the terrane. Here, we report early Paleozoic trilobite and conodont taxa that support a Laurentian origin for the North Slope subterrane of Arctic Alaska, as well as new Neoproterozoic–Cambrian detrital zircon geochronological data, which are both consistent with a Laurentian origin and profoundly different from those derived from similar-aged strata in the southwestern subterranes of Arctic Alaska–Chukotka. The North Slope subterrane is accordingly interpreted as allochthonous with respect to northwestern Laurentia, but it most likely originated farther east along the Canadian Arctic or Atlantic margins. These data demonstrate that construction of the composite Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane resulted from juxtaposition of the exotic southwestern fragments of the terrane against the northern margin of Laurentia during protracted Devonian(?)–Carboniferous tectonism.

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