Late Devonian Magmatism and Clastic Deposition in the Upper Earn Group (Central Yukon, Canada) Mark the Transition from Passive to Active Margin Along Western Laurentia
The Earn Group of central Yukon records the transition from a passive to an active margin along western Laurentia in the Late Devonian. Fine-grained clastic rocks and chert of the lower Earn Group contain late Early to Middle Devonian fossils and were deposited in an offshelf environment. The upper Earn Group comprises a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate, fine-grained siliciclastic rocks, and widespread crystal lithic tuff. Zircons from this succession are precisely dated using chemical abrasion isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA–ID–TIMS) methods on igneous (ca. 363 Ma) and detrital (ca. 378–363 Ma) grains and the ages were confirmed by Frasnian to Famennian fossils. Abrupt, along-strike facies changes within the upper Earn Group of the Glenlyon–Tay River area occur across mapped faults that are inferred to have originated as syndepositional extension faults in the Late Devonian. Occurrences of ca. 363 Ma tuff horizons within all facies of the upper Earn Group provide a temporal correlation across the area. Diorite plutons intrude lower Paleozoic rocks in the area and have U–Pb zircon crystallization dates of ca. 364 Ma. The diorite has calc-alkaline composition consistent with arc magmatism or crustal contamination. The Late Devonian magmatism in the Earn Group is coincident with onset of arc magmatism in the allochthonous Yukon–Tanana terrane, and extension related to rifting and opening of the Slide Mountain ocean in a back-arc setting. Magmatic rocks in the Earn Group of central Yukon thus represent part of a remnant continental arc and back-arc stranded behind the Slide Mountain ocean in the Mississippian.
Cobbett, Rose N.; Colpron, Maurice; Crowley, James L.; Cordey, Fabrice; Blodgett, Robert B.; and Orchard, Michael J.. (2021). "Late Devonian Magmatism and Clastic Deposition in the Upper Earn Group (Central Yukon, Canada) Mark the Transition from Passive to Active Margin Along Western Laurentia". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 58(5), 471-494. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2020-0161