Siletzia is a basaltic Paleocene and Eocene large igneous province in coastal Oregon, Washington, and southern Vancouver Island that was accreted to North America in the early Eocene. New U-Pb magmatic, detrital zircon, and 40Ar/39Ar ages constrained by detailed field mapping, global nannoplankton zones, and magnetic polarities allow correlation of the volcanics with the 2012 geologic time scale. The data show that Siletzia was rapidly erupted 56–49 Ma, during the Chron 25–22 plate reorganization in the northeast Pacific basin. Accretion was completed between 51 and 49 Ma in Oregon, based on CP11 (CP—Coccolith Paleogene zone) coccoliths in strata overlying onlapping continental sediments. Magmatism continued in the northern Oregon Coast Range until ca. 46 Ma with the emplacement of a regional sill complex during or shortly after accretion. Isotopic signatures similar to early Columbia River basalts, the great crustal thickness of Siletzia in Oregon, rapid eruption, and timing of accretion are consistent with offshore formation as an oceanic plateau. Approximately 8 m.y. after accretion, margin parallel extension of the forearc, emplacement of regional dike swarms, and renewed magmatism of the Tillamook episode peaked at 41.6 Ma (CP zone 14a; Chron 19r). We examine the origin of Siletzia and consider the possible role of a long-lived Yellowstone hotspot using the reconstruction in GPlates, an open source plate model. In most hotspot reference frames, the Yellowstone hotspot (YHS) is on or near an inferred northeast-striking Kula-Farallon and/or Resurrection-Farallon ridge between 60 and 50 Ma. In this configuration, the YHS could have provided a 56–49 Ma source on the Farallon plate for Siletzia, which accreted to North America by 50 Ma. A sister plateau, the Eocene basalt basement of the Yakutat terrane, now in Alaska, formed contemporaneously on the adjacent Kula (or Resurrection) plate and accreted to coastal British Columbia at about the same time. Following accretion of Siletzia, the leading edge of North America overrode the YHS ca. 42 Ma. The voluminous high-Ti basaltic to alkalic magmatism of the 42–35 Ma Tillamook episode and extension in the forearc may be related to the encounter with an active YHS. Clockwise rotation of western Oregon about a pole in the backarc has since moved the Tillamook center and underlying Siletzia northward ∼250 km from the probable hotspot track on North America. In the reference frames we examined, the YHS arrives in the backarc ∼5 m.y. too early to match the 17 Ma magmatic flare-up commonly attributed to the YHS. We suggest that interaction with the subducting slab may have delayed arrival of the plume beneath the backarc.
- Received 24 December 2013.
- Revision received 7 May 2014.
- Accepted 25 June 2014.
- © Geological Society of America