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  • 2015-2019  (2)
  • 1
    Publication Date: 2015-10-01
    Description: The Whitehorse trough is an Early to Middle Jurassic marine sedimentary basin that overlaps the Intermontane terranes in the northern Cordillera. Detrital zircon dates from eight Laberge Group sandstones from various parts of the trough all display a major Late Triassic–Early Jurassic peak (220–180 Ma) and a minor peak in the mid-Paleozoic (340–330 Ma), corresponding exactly with known igneous ages from areas surrounding the trough. Source regions generally have Early Jurassic (ca. 200–180 Ma) mica cooling dates, and the petrology of metamorphic rocks and Early Jurassic granitoid plutons flanking the trough suggests rapid exhumation during emplacement. These data suggest that subsidence and coarse clastic sedimentation in the trough occurred concurrently with rapid exhumation of the shoulders. Isolated occurrences of sandstone and conglomerate units with similar detrital zircon signatures occur west and east of the trough, as well as overlapping the Cache Creek terrane, indicating that either the trough was once more extensive, or isolated basins tapped similar sources. Development of these sedimentary basins and accompanying rapid exhumation in the northern Cordillera were coeval with the onset of orogenic activity in the hinterland of the southern Canadian Cordillera, and subsidence in the western Canada foreland sedimentary basin. The Whitehorse trough is interpreted as a forearc basin that progressively evolved into a collisional, synorogenic piggyback basin developed atop the nascent Cordilleran orogen. Upper Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous fluvial deposits overlapping the Whitehorse trough have detrital zircons that were mainly derived from recycling of the Laberge Group, but they also contain zircons exotic to the northern Intermontane terranes that are interpreted to reflect windblown detritus from the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous magmatic arc that developed either atop the approaching Insular terranes to the west or southern Stikinia.
    Print ISSN: 1941-8264
    Electronic ISSN: 1947-4253
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-09-08
    Description: The first-order importance of tectonic and environmental controls for terrigenous sediment supply has rarely been questioned, but the role of vegetation in the modification of ancient alluvial signatures has been observed since the mid-20th century (Vogt 1941). Studies of sparsely vegetated rivers (Schumm 1968) and alluvial stratigraphic variation (Cotter 1978; Davies & Gibling 2010) led to observations of (1) plant modulation of alluvial signatures and (2) Palaeozoic facies shifts (PFS): unidirectional changes to facies diversity and frequency, in stratigraphic alliance with the plant fossil record. One PFS is the Siluro-Devonian appearance of mud-rich, architecturally complex alluvium, traditionally ascribed to meandering rivers, and sedimentologically distinct from pre-vegetation strata (Davies & Gibling 2010; Long 2011). Using selected secondary data, Santos et al. (2017) dispute the correlation of these observations using three key points, as follows. (1) The mid-Palaeozoic was typified by orogenic assembly of low-gradient equatorial continents and elevated sea-level, which led to tropical weathering (abundant fine sediment) and extensive alluvial plains. This drove the PFS by promoting river meandering independently of vegetation. (2) Meandering does not require vegetation; this is shown by examples in Precambrian deposits, on other planets, and in ‘non-vegetated’ deserts. Meandering rivers were more abundant than the pre-vegetation rock record suggests, owing to selective bypass and deflation of fine material. (3) Early Siluro-Devonian (meaning Ludlow–Early Devonian) land plants were too small, their biomass and cover too limited, and their wetland habitat too narrow to have stabilized meandering channels, influencing landscape little more than earlier microbial communities. We contest the conclusions and method of the paper, and deal with each point in turn.
    Print ISSN: 0016-7649
    Topics: Geosciences
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