Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Origin, transport, and emplacement of an exotic island-arc terrane exposed in eastern Kamchatka, Russia

September 1, 1994

The regional stratigraphy of eastern Kamchatka includes an exotic, Early-Late Cretaceous ophiolite and Late Cretaceous island-arc volcanic sequence. Integrating the existing geologic and geophysical data, we examine the origin, transport, emplacement, and postemplacement deformation of the island-arc terrane, which is named the Olyutorsky island arc. Results from several paleomagnetic studies consistently indicate that the island-arc terrane originated >1000 km to the south of where it is presently exposed. Although the formative paleolatitudes of the island-arc rocks approximately correspond to the location of the Izanagi-Farallon subduction zone, the age of the volcanic rocks postdates the cessation of Izanagi-Farallon convergence, thus indicating that an unnamed plate or back-arc basin existed in the northwest Pacific during Late Cretaceous time. We examine two possible models for northward transport of the island-arc terrane to Kamchatka: (1) infra-oceanic transport with the Pacific or Kula plates and (2) coastwise translation of the island-arc terrane after accretion to the Eurasian margin far to the south of Kamchatka. For both models, the dominant Eocene and Miocene deformation ages observed in eastern Kamchatka are used as two possible age limits for the cessation of northward transport. Although the observed paleolatitudes from paleomagnetic data correspond best with the infra-oceanic transport model, the provenance of the Paleogene "transport" stratigraphy indicates a near-shore sediment supply. Our preferred interpretation is that the island-arc terrane (1) accreted onto the Eurasian margin concurrent with cessation of island-arc volcanism (Maastrichtian-Danian) and (2) underwent northward coastwise translation along a major strike-slip fault zone ending by middle-late Eocene time (43-50 Ma). It is unclear whether the ophiolite was exposed during arc-continent collision or whether the ophiolite was obducted onto the island arc prior to collision. A consequence of either infra-oceanic transport or coastwise translation is that an open corridor between the western terminus of the Aleutian Arc and Kamchatka must have existed until middle to late Eocene time. Spreading within the Komandorsky Basin, subduction of sea-mounts, and collision of the Aleutian Arc with Kamchatka are proposed to have instigated the second Miocene phase of deformation, which uplifted and reexposed the island-arc terrane.

Publication Year 1994
Title Origin, transport, and emplacement of an exotic island-arc terrane exposed in eastern Kamchatka, Russia
DOI 10.1130/0016-7606(1994)106<1182:OTAEOA>2.3.CO;2
Authors Eric L. Geist, Tracy L. Vallier, David W. Scholl
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geological Society of America Bulletin
Index ID 70186600
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center