U-Pb-Hf characterization of the central Coast Mountains batholith: Implications for petrogenesis and crustal architecture

M. Robinson Cecil, George Gehrels, Mihai N. Ducea, P. Jonathan Patchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


We present U-Pb geochronologic and Hf isotopic data from 29 plutonic samples within the Coast Mountain batholith, north-coastal British Columbia and southeast Alaska. Hf isotopic values do not correlate with age or variation in magmatic fl ux, but rather they increase systematically from west (ε Hf [t] = +2 to +5) to east (ε Hf [t] = +10 to +13) in response to changing country rock assemblages. By comparing our pluton Hf data with previously reported Nd-Sr and detrital zircon characteristics of associated country rocks, we identify three crustal domains in an area where crustal affi nity is largely obscured by metamorphism and voluminous pluton intrusion: (1) a western domain, emplaced into continental-margin strata of the Banks Island assemblage; (2) a central domain, emplaced into the Alexander terrane; and (3) an eastern domain, underlain by the Stikine terrane and its inferred metamorphic equivalents. Between the interpreted Alexander and Stikine terranes, there is a zone of variable ε Hf (t) (+2 to +13) that coincides with the suture zone separating inboard (Stikine and Yukon-Tanana) from outboard (Alexander and associated) terranes. This variation in ε Hf (t) values apparently results from the structural imbrication of juvenile (Alexander and Stikine) and evolved (Yukon-Tanana) terranes along mid-Cretaceous thrust faults and the latest Cretaceous-early Tertiary Coast shear zone. Shifts in the Hf values of plutons across inferred terranes imply that they are separated at lower- to midcrustal levels by steep boundaries. Correlation between these Hf values and the isotopic character of exposed country rocks further implies the presence of those or similar rocks at magma-generation depths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-260
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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