Volume 11, Issue 4 p. 823-835

Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous basinal strata along the Cordilleran Margin: Implications for the accretionary history of the Alexander-Wrangellia-Peninsular Terrane

First published: August 1992
Citations: 113


Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous basinal strata are preserved in a discontinuous belt along the inboard margin of the Alexander-Wrangellia-Peninsular terrane (AWP) in Alaska and western Canada, on the outboard margin of terranes in the Canadian Cordillera accreted to North America prior to Late Jurassic time, and along the Cordilleran margin from southern Oregon to southern California. Nearly all of the basinal assemblages contain turbiditic strata deposited between Oxfordian and Albian time. Arc-type volcanic rocks and abundant volcanic detritus in many of the assemblages suggest deposition within or adjacent to a coeval arc complex. On the basis of the general similarities between the basinal sequences, we propose that they record involvement of the AWP in the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous evolution of the Cordilleran margin. A geologically reasonable scenario for the accretion of the AWP includes (1) Middle Jurassic accretion to the Cordilleran margin, in particular the Stikine and Yukon-Tanana terranes, in a dextral transpressional regime, (2) Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous overall northward translation of the AWP and evolution of a series of transtensional basins within a complex dextral strike-slip system along the Cordilleran margin, and (3) mid-Cretaceous structural imbrication of the AWP and inboard terranes that either terminated or resulted in a change in the character of deposition in the marginal basins. Mid-Cretaceous deformation along the inboard margin of the AWP was broadly synchronous with contractional deformation throughout the Cordillera and most likely due to changes in subduction zone parameters along the Cordilleran margin, outboard of the AWP, rather than collision of the AWP.