Volcanism in an arc-transform transition zone: the stratigraphy of the St. Clare Creek volcanic field, Wrangell volcanic belt, Yukon, Canada

Thomas Skulski, Don Francis, John Ludden

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22 Citations (Scopus)


The St. Clare Creek volcanic field in the southwestern Yukon overlies a tectonic transition in the Wrangell volcanic belt between subduction to the northwest in Alaska and transform faulting along the Duke River fault in the southeast. Two large polygenetic volcanic centres dominated the Miocene landscape of the St. Clare Creek field: the 18–16 Ma Wolverine centre and the 16–10 Ma Klutlan centre. The Wolverine centre evolved from a small alkaline shield volcano at 18 Ma, from which alkaline basalts, hawaiites and mugearites erupted, to a larger composite volcano between 18 and 16 Ma composed of transitional basalt, basaltic trachyandesite, trachyte and rhyolite lavas, and pyroclastic rocks. The youngest Wolverine lavas are calc-alkaline basaltic andesites, andesites, and hybrid lavas (transitional–calc-alkaline). This temporal progression from alkaline through transitional to calc-alkaline volcanism is accompanied by a systematic increase in the degree of silica saturation and decrease in Fe/Si, Nb/Y, and P/Y ratios. Klutlan lavas have lower Nb/Y and P/Y ratios and are characterized by an opposite eruption sequence. The earliest Klutlan lavas (16–13 Ma) erupted from a composite volcano and include calc-alkaline andesite, rhyolite, and hybrid trachyandesite lavas, followed by transitional basaltic trachyandesites, trachyandesites, trachytes, and rhyolites. Klutlan vulcanism between 13 and 11 Ma was dominated by basaltic fissure eruptions on the southern flanks of the earlier centre and include early mildly alkaline basalts followed by more voluminous transitional basalts. Volcanism reverted to a more central type of activity between 11 and 10 Ma and includes calc-alkaline dacite lava followed by transitional basaltic trachyandesite, trachyandesite, and trachyte lavas.The volcanic stratigraphy of the St. Clare Creek field and 40Ar/39Ar geochronological data provide the basis for understanding the origin of St. Clare magmas in a regional tectonic context. Early Wolverine alkaline volcanism largely reflects leaky transform faulting, whereas subsequent transitional and calc-alkaline lavas record the onset of subduction-related volcanism at the margins of the then active Wrangell arc. The opposite eruption sequence at the Klutlan centre records the demise of subduction-related volcanism between 16 and 13 Ma, due to northwestward migration of the subducted plate. Upwelling of asthenospheric mantle in place of the subducted slab led to the generation of transitional basalts between 13 and 11 Ma, which resulted in more evolved lavas between 11 and 10 Ma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-461
Number of pages16
JournalCanadian Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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