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Where ice gave way to fire: Deglacial volcanic activity at the edge of the Coast Mountains in Milbanke Sound, BC

October 20, 2023
Kitasu Hill and MacGregor Cone formed along the Principe Laredo Fault on British Columbia’s central coast as the Wisconsinan ice sheet withdrew from the Coast Mountains. These small-volume Milbanke Sound Volcanoes (MSV) provide remarkable evidence for the intimate relationship between volcanic and glacial facies. The lavas are within-plate, differentiated (low MgO < 7%) Ocean Island Basalts, hawaiites, and mugearites that formed from ∼1% decompression melting of asthenosphere with residual garnet. Kitasu Hill, on glaciated bedrock, formed between 18 and 15 cal ka BP. Dipping, poorly stratified, admixed hyaloclastite, and glacial diamicton with large plutonic clasts and pillow breccia comprise its basal tuya platform (0–43 masl). Subaerial nested cinder cones, with smaller capping lava flows, sit atop the tuya. New marine samples show McGregor Cone formed subaerially but now sits submerged at 43–200 mbsl on an eroded moraine at the mouth of Finlayson Channel. Seismic data and cores reveal glaciomarine sediments draping the cone’s lower slopes and show beach terraces. Cores contain glaciomarine diamictons, ice-rafted debris, delicate glassy air fall tephra, and shallow, sublittoral, and deeper benthic foraminifera. Dates of 14.1–11.2 cal ka BP show volcanism spanned ∼2000 years during floating ice shelf conditions. The MSV have similar proximal positions to the retreating ice sheet, display mixed volcano-glacial facies, and experienced similar unloading stresses during deglaciation. The MSV may represent deglacially triggered volcanism. The dates, geomorphic and geological evidence, constrain a local relative sea level curve for Milbanke Sound and show how ice gave way to fire.
Publication Year 2024
Title Where ice gave way to fire: Deglacial volcanic activity at the edge of the Coast Mountains in Milbanke Sound, BC
DOI 10.1139/cjes-2023-0080
Authors Tark S. Hamilton, Randolph J. Enkin, Zhengpeng Li, Jan M. Bednarski, Cooper D. Stacey, Mary McGann, Britta J.L. Jensen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences
Index ID 70250030
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center