Eocene arc-continent collision and crustal consolidation in Kamchatka, Russian Far East

Jeremy K. Hourigan, Mark T. Brandon, Alexei V. Soloviev, Alexei B. Kirmasov, John I. Garver, James Stevenson, Peter W. Reiners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The age and origin of high-grade metamorphic rocks of the Sredinnyi Range, Kamchatka have been the subject of a long and controversial debate. Based on geochronologic data and its association with a collage of accreted oceanic terranes, leading interpretations argue that the Sredinnyi Range metamorphic rocks represent an accreted Precambrian or Mesozoic microcontinent. In this contribution, we present new data that indicate that these metamorphic rocks were formed from the Cretaceous-Paleocene sedimentary margin of northeast Russia when it was overridden during Eocene obduction of the Olyutorsky arc, a far-travelled oceanic island arc. Our data include new mapping and structural observations along the northern and eastern flanks of the Sredinnyi Range, and SHRIMP zircon and monazite U-Th-Pb age data from 15 key samples. These new isotopic data demonstrate that paragneissic units were formed from sediments with depositional ages locally no older than Late Cretaceous to Paleocene. Furthermore, the statistical similarity of zircon U-Pb grain-ages from the Kamchatka Schist with very low-grade turbidite sandstones of the Ukelayat and Khozgon Groups indicate that metasediments of the Sredinnyi Range are upgraded stratigraphic equivalents of northeast Russian marginal strata. SHRIMP U-Pb ages of zircon overgrowths and metamorphic monazite extracted from migmatite and gneiss indicate that peak metamorphism occurred at 52 Ma, which is synchronous with the onset of the Olyutorsky arc-continent collision. Heating and cooling occurred rapidly, at rates approaching 80°C/m.y. Rapid heating is attributed to syncolhsional, subduction-related magmatism. Thermochronology and structural observations indicate that exhumation was due to a combination of ductile and brittle thinning of the crust. We speculate that this thinning was caused by diapiric ascent of a low-density low-viscosity continental material beneath a dense structural lid of the obducted island arc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-396
Number of pages64
JournalAmerican Journal of Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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