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Thermobarometric constraints on mid-Cretaceous to late Cretaceous metamorphic events in the western metamorphic belt of the Coast Mountains complex near Petersburg, southeastern Alaska

Professional Paper 1709-C

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Abstract

The western metamorphic belt is part of the Coast Mountains Complex of southeastern Alaska and western Canada. This complex formed as a result of mid-Cretaceous through middle Eocene crustal shortening between the previously amalgamated Wrangellia and Alexander terranes (Insular superterrane) and previously accreted terranes of the North American continental margin (Intermontane superterrane). The western metamorphic belt, which ranges from a few kilometers to several tens of kilometers in width, records a complex sequence of contact-metamorphic and regional metamorphic events, the most significant of which are designated M1R, M2C-R, and M3R. The M1R regional metamorphic event ranged in grade from subgreenschist to greenschist facies and was overprinted by the M2C-R and M3R metamorphic events. The M2C-R metamorphic event is recorded in discrete contact-metamorphic aureoles and regional metamorphic-mineral assemblages related to tonalite-granodiorite plutons of the Admiralty-Revillagigedo plutonic belt. The M3R metamorphic belt, which is adjacent to the M2C-R belt, is characterized by regional Barrovian isograds of garnet, staurolite, kyanite, and sillimanite. Using the THERMOCALC program, pressure-temperature (P-T) conditions for the M2C-R metamorphic event are estimated to be in the ranges 5.3-7.5 kbars and 525-640 deg.C and for the M3R metamorphic event in the ranges 9.4-12.6 kbars and 730-895 deg.C. The M2C-R metamorphic event occurred at approximately 90 Ma, but the timing of the M3R metamorphic event is poorly documented and uncertain. On the basis of an 40Ar/39Ar age on actinolitic amphibole and a Sm-Nd age on garnet core, the timing of metamorphism might be constrained between 90+/-1 and 80+/-9 Ma, although the Sm-Nd age of 80+/-9 m.y. possibly reflects postpeak growth. Thermobarometric data suggest that the two events occurred at different crustal levels and followed different P-T paths. No evidence exists that M2C-R metamorphic-mineral assemblages were overprinted by the M3R metamorphic event, as proposed by some workers. Juxtaposition of the two belts of rocks probably occurred along the Coast shear zone during uplift and exhumation of the Coast Mountains.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Thermobarometric constraints on mid-Cretaceous to late Cretaceous metamorphic events in the western metamorphic belt of the Coast Mountains complex near Petersburg, southeastern Alaska
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
1709
Chapter:
C
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2005
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
18 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2004
Online Only (Y/N):
Y