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McClelland, W.C., 1990

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McClelland, W.C., 1990, The accretionary history of the Alexander terrane and structural evolution of the Coast Mountains batholith: Evidence from geologic, geochronologic, and thermobarometric studies in the Petersburg region, central southeastern Alaska: Tuscon, Arizona, University of Arizona, Ph.D. dissertation, 228 p., illust., maps.


Rocks west of the Coast Mountains batholith in central southeastern Alaska include the Alexander terrane, Gravina belt, Taku terrane, and newly defined Ruth assemblage. Geologic, geochronologic and thermobarometric studies of these rocks in the Petersburg region provide new constraints on the accretionary history of the Alexander terrane and structural evolution of the Coast Mountains batholith. Paleozoic and Upper Triassic strata of the Alexander terrane were deformed within the Duncan Canal shear zone. Dextral shear in this zone during Early or Middle Jurassic time is inferred to reflect deformation along the eastern margin of the Alexander terrane and record the juxtaposition of the Alexander terrane with the North American margin. Deposition of the Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous Gravina belt occurred within a transtensional back-arc to intra-arc basin that evolved during the northward translation of the Alexander terrane. The Ruth assemblage and Taku terrane were structurally emplaced over the Gravina belt and Alexander terrane along the Sumdum-Fanshaw fault system during mid-Cretaceous time. West-vergent thrusting of the Ruth assemblage was accompanied by metamorphic P,T conditions of 6.8 kb,<450 degrees C in the Gravina belt and 6.9 to >7.4 kb, >550 degrees C in the Ruth assemblage. The age of deformation is constrained by syntectonic and post tectonic intrusive bodies that yield U-Pb lower intercept apparent ages of 92.3 +/- 3 Ma and 91.3 +/- 6.3 Ma, respectively. Late Devonian-Mississippian orthogneiss and felsic metavolcanic rocks in the Ruth assemblage suggest correlation of the assemblage with continental margin rocks of the Yukon-Tanana and Nisling terranes east of the Coast Mountains batholith. Thus the mid-Cretaceous Sumdum-Fanshow fault system marks the fundamental boundary between the Alexander terrane and inboard fragments. This deformation records the final structural accretion of the Alexander, Wrangellia, and Peninsular terranes to the western margin of North America. The mid-Cretaceous thrust system is truncated to the east by the LeConte Bay shear zone, a complex zone of Late Cretaceous-early Tertiary fabrics that occur in and west of the Coast Mountains batholith. This zone has apparently accommodated both west-side-up and east-side-up displacement during the collapse of the overthickened crust developed during mid-Cretaceous time.

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