New isotopic ages have been obtained from euhedral, first-cycle zircon grains recovered from Rhaetian strata preserved at the Black Bear Ridge section in northeastern British Columbia. Two statistically significant populations are present: an older population ca. 224 Ma, and a dominant younger population ca. 205 Ma. The younger population includes a group of grains with a weighted average 206Pb/238U age of 205.2 ± 0.9 Ma, which is interpreted to represent the maximum depositional age of the sediment. Potential sources for the two populations are found in the Quesnel terrane in central British Columbia, implying close proximity between this terrane and the autochthonous North American margin during the Late Triassic. This is supported by geochemical and structural evidence. The implication that the Quesnel terrane was close to its present-day latitude during the Late Triassic is in conflict with older estimates of paleolatitude based on paleomagnetic and paleontological evidence. The age of 205.2 ± 0.9 Ma obtained from the youngest population of zircons is also consistent with recently published estimates for the age of the Norian-Rhaetian boundary.
- Received 8 February 2016.
- Revision received 27 May 2016.
- Accepted 13 July 2016.
- © 2016 Geological Society of America