Triassic–Jurassic Accretionary History and Tectonic Origin of Stikinia From U-Pb Geochronology and Lu-Hf Isotope Analysis, British Columbia

S. W.M. George, J. L. Nelson, D. Alberts, C. J. Greig, G. E. Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The timing of assembly and tectonic origins of terranes in the northern Cordillera of Alaska, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest are debated. Stikinia, a long-lived arc terrane, has an enigmatic regional Mesozoic accretionary history and its tectonic origins remain unconstrained. Zircon U-Pb geochronology and Lu-Hf isotopic data on Triassic–Jurassic sedimentary and igneous rocks from central Stikinia shed light on the terrane-scale effects of a latest Triassic–Early Jurassic collision between Stikinia and pericratonic Yukon-Tanana terrane. Main age peaks from central Stikinia are 250–160 Ma, reflecting ongoing Mesozoic arc-related igneous activity within Stikinia. Comparison of isotopic evolution and unconformity development between central Stikinia and northern Stikinia (Whitehorse trough) provide new constraints on regional latest Triassic–earliest Jurassic deformation. We attribute the shortening-related deformation to variable along-strike interactions during end-on collision with the Yukon-Tanana terrane, with significant crustal thickening at the northern apex of Stikinia that did not persist farther south. A small pre-Devonian zircon population is significant, as the oldest exposed rocks in Stikinia are Early Devonian. Pre-Devonian age peaks differ from those of the northern Yukon-Tanana terrane, but resemble zircons from southern Wrangellia. These zircons are likely multi-cyclic, derived from crust that originated in the Arctic region near the northern end of the Caledonide orogeny. We suggest that Stikinia was an independent crustal block prior to latest Triassic onset of collision with Yukon-Tanana terrane. The ongoing, end-on collision in turn promoted oroclinal assembly of the peri-Laurentian terranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020TC006505
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Canadian Cordillera
  • Stikinia
  • Yukon-Tanana
  • accretion
  • basement
  • orocline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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