Development of amphibolite-facies transposition fabrics in the northern Canadian Cordilleran hinterland occurred diachronously in the Permian–Triassic, Early Jurassic, Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, and Early to mid-Cretaceous. Rocks tectonized in the Permian–Triassic and Early Jurassic were exhumed in the Early Jurassic, while rocks immediately to the northeast (toward the foreland) were not buried and heated until the Middle Jurassic to mid-Cretaceous. Early Jurassic to mid-Cretaceous emplacement of the Yukon-Tanana terrane on the North American continental margin, together with the imbrication of parautochthonous rocks, formed a foreland-propagating orogenic wedge. Cooler rocks in front of the wedge were progressively buried and metamorphosed to amphibolite facies from the Jurassic to mid-Cretaceous as they were underthrust into a spatially and temporally transient distributed ductile shear zone near the base of the overriding wedge. Rocks previously incorporated into this zone were displaced upward and exhumed through the combined effects of renewed underplating at depth and compensating extensional and erosional denudation above to maintain a critically tapered wedge. Extensional exhumation of the metamorphic hinterland in the mid-Cretaceous marked the collapse and end of orogen-perpendicular wedge dynamics in operation since the Early Jurassic. Rocks incorporated into the midcrustal shear zone in the Middle Jurassic to mid-Cretaceous were exhumed in the mid-Cretaceous along southeast-directed (orogen-parallel) extensional faults from beneath a supracrustal “lid” tectonized in the Permian–Triassic and Early Jurassic. Like the Himalayan orogen and eastern Alps, orogen-parallel extension developed in an orthogonal plate-convergent setting, simultaneous with, and bounded by, orogen-parallel strike-slip faulting that facilitated northwestward lateral extrusion of rocks normal to the direction of convergence.
- Received 17 June 2015.
- Revision received 18 December 2015.
- Accepted 11 January 2016.
- © 2016 Geological Society of America