Magnetotelluric traverses across the southern Yukon-Tanana terrane (YTT) reveal the presence of a thick conductive layer (or layers) beneath Paleozoic crystalline rocks. These rocks have been interpreted to be flysch of probable Mesozoic age, on the basis of the occurrence of Jurassic-Cretaceous flysch in the Kahiltna assemblage and Gravina-Nutzotin belt flanking the YTT to the southwest and southeast, respectively. The Pb, Nd, Sr, and O isotopes in Cretaceous and Tertiary granitic rocks that crop out throughout the YTT were measured to determine if these rocks do in fact contain a component of flysch. Previous limited analyses indicated that the Pb isotopes of the granitic rocks could be a mixture of radiogenic Pb derived from Paleozoic crystalline rocks of the YTT with an increasing component of relatively nonradiogenic Pb with decreasing age. Our Nd, Sr, and O data, along with additional Pb isotope data, eliminate flysch as a likely source and strongly suggest that the nonradiogenic end-member was derived from mafic rocks, either directly from mantle magma or by melting of mafic crust. The lack of a sedimentary component in the granitic plutons suggests either that the plutons did not incorporate significant amounts of flysch during intrusion or that the conductive layer beneath the YTT crystalline rocks is not flysch.
Additional publication details
Isotopic evidence for the sources of Cretaceous and tertiary granitic rocks, east-central Alaska: Implications for the tectonic evolution of the Yukon-Tanana terrane