Structure, stratigraphy, and U-Pb zircon-titanite geochronology of the Aley carbonatite complex, northeast British Columbia: Evidence for Antler-aged orogenesis in the Foreland Belt of the Canadian Cordillera




McLeish, Duncan Forbes

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The tectonic significance and age of carbonatite intrusions in the western Foreland Belt of the Canadian Cordillera are poorly constrained. Recent 1:5,000 scale field mapping of one of these carbonatite intrusions, the Aley carbonatite (NTS 94 B/5), has demonstrated that it was emplaced as a syn-kinematic sill, coeval with a major nappe-forming tectonic event. Determining the age of the Aley carbonatite therefore provides a means of directly dating tectonism related to carbonatite magmatism. A U-Pb titanite age of 365.9 +/- 2.1 Ma was obtained from the Ospika pipe, an ultramafic diatreme spatially and genetically related to the carbonatite. We interpret the Late Devonian age of the Ospika pipe to be the minimum possible age of the carbonatite and syn-magmatic nappe-forming tectonic event. The maximum possible age of the carbonatite is constrained by the Early Devonian age of the Road River Group (ca. 410 Ma), the youngest strata intruded by carbonatite dykes and involved in the nappe forming event. Our dating results for the Aley carbonatite closely correlate with U-Pb zircon and perovskite ages obtained for the Ice River carbonatite complex in the western Foreland Belt of the southern Canadian Cordillera, and support the interpretation of carbonatite intrusions of the western Foreland Belt as genetically linked components of an alkaline-carbonatitic magmatic province. Structural, stratigraphic, and geochronological data from the Aley area indicate that deformation was similar in style to, and coeval with, structures attributable to the Antler Orogeny, and are consistent with the Antler orogen having extended the length of Cordilleran margin from the southern United States to Alaska. Deformed alkaline-carbonatite intrusions that characterize continental suture zones in Africa and Tibet may provide an analogue for the Aley carbonatite and correlative alkaline-carbonatite complexes in the western Foreland Belt.



Aley carbonatite, carbonatites, Foreland Belt, Canadian Cordillera, Antler Orogeny, suture zones, Ospika Pipe, active margins, Kechika Formation, Skoki Formation, Road River Group, U-Pb zircon geochronology, U-Pb titanite geochronology