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Metamorphism within the Chugach accretionary complex on southern Baranof Island, southeastern Alaska

January 1, 2003

On Baranof Island, southeastern Alaska, we identify four metamorphic events that affect rocks associated with the Chugach accretionary complex. This study focuses on the M1 and M4 metamorphic events. Mesozoic schists, gneisses, and migmatitic gneisses exposed near the Kasnyku pluton on central Baranof Island represent the M1 metamorphic rocks. These rocks underwent amphibolite facies metamorphism. Calculated temperatures and pressures range from about 620 to 780 ºC and 5.5 to 6.6 kbar and are compatible with the observed metamorphic mineral assemblages.

The M4 metamorphism affected rocks of the Sitka Graywacke on southern Baranof Island, producing extensive biotite and garnet zones as well as andalusite and sillimanite zones at the contacts of the Crawfish Inlet and Redfish Bay plutons. Calculated M4 temperatures and pressures from the andalusite and sillimanite zones range from 575 to 755 ºC and 3.4 to 6.9 kbar. These results fall within the sillimanite stability field, at pressures higher than andalusite stability. These results may indicate the M4 metamorphic event occurred along a P-T path along which the equilibration of aluminosilicate-garnet-plagioclase-quartz did not occur or was not maintained. This interpretation is supported by the occurrence of andalusite and sillimanite within the same sample. We propose the data reflect a clockwise P-T path with peak M4 metamorphism of the sillimanite-bearing samples adjacent to the intrusions at an approximate depth of 15 to 20 km, followed by rapid uplift without reequilibration of garnet-plagioclase-aluminosilicate-quartz.

The large extent of the biotite zone, and possibly the garnet zone, suggests that an additional heat source must have existed to regionally metamorphose these rocks during the M4 event. We suggest the M4 regional thermal metamorphism and intrusion of the Crawfish Inlet and Redfish Bay plutons were synchronous and the result of heat flux from a slab window beneath the accretionary complex at that time. If our conclusions regarding the effect of the slab window are correct, the style of metamorphism is different from the Chugach metamorphic complex, which is clearly linked to a slab window. Therefore, our findings would suggest that there is no distinct metamorphic signature for slab window effects.

Publication Year 2003
Title Metamorphism within the Chugach accretionary complex on southern Baranof Island, southeastern Alaska
DOI 10.1130/0-8137-2371-X.253
Authors Cathy L. Zumsteg, Glen R. Himmelberg, Susan M. Karl, Peter J. Haeussler
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geological Society of America Special Papers
Index ID 70182827
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center