U‐Pb zircon geochronology from the Northern Cordillera, central Yukon, with implications for its tectonic assembly
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The tectonic assembly of the Northern Cordillera is currently disputed and directly impacts Paleozoic-to-recent paleogeographic and plate tectonic reconstructions of North America. In this study, we present new U-Pb zircon geochronology from the allochthonous Yukon-Tanana terrane and the parautochthonous Cassiar terrane of the Northern Cordillera from south-central Yukon, Canada. Our data provide new constraints for the assembly of the Northern Cordillera in this region. Metasedimentary samples from the Ingenika Group (Cassiar terrane) and the Snowcap and Finlayson assemblages (Yukon-Tanana terrane) yielded detrital zircon age spectra that are comparable to known northwest Laurentia age spectra. One of our samples from the Snowcap assemblage yields a detrital zircon age spectrum that is anomalous for northwest Laurentia, but comparable to Early Paleozoic strata deposited in the Nevada-Idaho-Utah region. Zircon rim growth and Pb-loss recorded by detrital zircon in the Snowcap assemblage and Ingenika Group samples record metamorphism at 370 ± 4 Ma and between 171 ± 5 and 135 ± 3 Ma. Late Devonian metamorphism and magmatism possibly corresponds to rifting of the Snowcap assemblage from the Laurentian margin. Middle Jurassic-Early Cretaceous metamorphic zircon rim ages from the Cassiar terrane record metamorphism during collisions between the Intermontane superterrane (including the Yukon-Tanana terrane) and Laurentia (Early to Middle Jurassic), and between the Insular superterrane and Laurentia (Middle to Late Jurassic). Our study suggests that collision between the Yukon-Tanana terrane and the Laurentian margin began no earlier than ∼205 Ma.
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