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Late-Paleozoic Orogeny in the Northern Yukon
In the northern Yukon, deformed pre-Carboniferous rocks are discontinuously exposed beneath a regional unconformity. This paper attempts to examine the nature of the orogenic activity that could have been responsible for their deformation.
The rocks present beneath the sub-upper Paleozoic unconformity range in age from Precambrian to Upper Devonian and can be assigned to three tectonic zones: (1) a southern zone which was essentially undeformed, (2) a central deformed zone exhibiting some probable faulting and folding about northeast-trending axes and (3) a northern zone composed largely of lightly metamorphosed rocks which are locally intruded by granites and which are folded about axes trending from north-south to northwest-southeast. In a general way, the age of the subcropping rocks increases northwestward and one can recognize a swing in fold axes from northeasterly to northwesterly between the central and northern zones. The late-Paleozoic orogeny gave rise to relief and consequent erosion, and post-orogenic relief appears to have persisted in the central zone so as to limit the extent of the subsequent Carboniferous transgression.
These data and relationships can be interpreted to suggest that the late-Paleozoic orogeny could have involved either: (a) southeastwardly directed overthrusting, (b) strike-slip faulting along a northeast-trending fracture zone or (c) block faulting. A combination of these models is also possible and larger scale global tectonic movements related to the evolution of the Arctic Ocean may be involved.
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