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The late Mesozoic-Paleogene evolution of the Canadian Cordillera was dominated by accretion of elongate crustal blocks against the North American craton. Geologic and paleomagnetic evidence suggest that these exotic terranes dispersed from volcanic arcs and oceanic platforms and approached North America along anastomosing right-lateral faults with great cumulative displacement. Obduction of oceanic allochthons was followed by transpressive thickening and regional metamorphism of the cratonic margin in the mid-Jurassic. Strike-slip motion and emplacement of plutonic rocks continued near relict sutures and reactivated deep faults. Sedimentary basins related to strike-slip faults formed by elongation of accreted terranes ("Stikinia" and "Wrangellia") and by shear within the eformed cratonic margin zone ("Rocky Mountain Trench"). Subsidence is reflected by northwest-southeast stretching along pull-apart structures, and by massive influx of turbidites from incipient collision zones and relict arc relief. It was interrupted and outlived by rotation of blocks, folding of basin sediments, and vigorous progradation of deltaic-fluvial clastics from rising collision belts. Transition from predominant transtension to prevailing transpression is diachronous from basin to basin. Near the Stikine-Wrangellia collision zone (Bowser basin), it occurred in the Late Jurassic; along the Stikine-Wrangellia border it occurred in the mid to Late Cretaceous. Only small nonmarine basins developed in the Rocky Mountain Trench system, which, in its southernmost part, was closed com letely during Paleogene thrust faulting. The strike-slip basins of the western Canadian Cordillera were subject to high regional heat flow and also suffered from widespread intrusion of Paleogene granitoids. Therefore, they are generally poor oil and gas prospects.
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