The boundary of the internal zones of the Brooks Range orogenic belt (the schist belt) is a fault contact that dips toward the hinterland (the Yukon-Koyukuk province). This fault, here referred to as the Cosmos Hills fault zone, juxtaposes oceanic rocks and unmetamorphosed sedimentary rocks structurally above blueschist-to-greenschist facies metamorphic rocks of the schist belt. Near the fault contact, schist belt rocks are increasingly affected by a prominent, subhorizontal transposition foliation that is locally mylonitic in the fault zone. Structural and petrologic observations combined with 40Ar/39Ar incremental-release geochronology give evidence for a polyphase metamorphic and deformational history beginning in the Middle Jurassic and continuing until the Late Cretaceous. Our 40Ar/39Ar cooling age for Jurassic metamorphism is consistent with stratigraphic and other evidence for the onset of Brooks Range orogenesis. Jurassic metamorphism is nearly everywhere overprinted by a regional greenschist-facies event dated at 130–125 Ma. Near the contact with the Cosmos Hills fault zone, the schist belt is increasingly affected by a younger greenschist metamorphism that is texturally related to a prominent foliation that folds and transposes an older fabric. The 40Ar/39Ar results on phengite and fuchsite that define this younger fabric give recrystallization ages ranging from 103 to less than 90 Ma. We conclude that metamorphism that formed the transposition fabric peaked around 100 Ma and may have continued until well after 90 Ma. This age for greenschist metamorphism is broadly synchronous with the depositional age of locally derived, shallow-marine clastic sedimentary strata in the hanging wall of the fault zone and thus substantiates the interpretation that the fault zone accommodated extension in the Late Cretaceous. This extension unroofed and exhumed the schist belt during relative subsidence of the Yukon-Koyukuk province.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Structure, metamorphism, and geochronology of the Cosmos Hills and Ruby Ridge, Brooks Range schist belt, Alaska|