Burial and Exhumation History of the Mackenzie Mountains and Plain, NWT, Through Integration of Low-Temperature Thermochronometers

Title: Burial and Exhumation History of the Mackenzie Mountains and Plain, NWT, Through Integration of Low-Temperature Thermochronometers
Authors: Powell, Jeremy
Date: 2017
Abstract: The integration of low-temperature thermochronometers, including apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He (AHe, ZHe) and apatite fission-track (AFT) methods, allows for a quantification of the thermal history experienced by rocks as they heat and cool through upper crustal temperature regimes (<200°C). Whereas these methods are practical in geologic terranes that have undergone rapid cooling, application to strata with protracted cooling histories is complicated by the enhanced role of grain-specific parameters (volume, chemistry, radiation damage) on the kinetics of helium diffusion and fission track annealing. The effects of these variables are most prevalent in sedimentary samples, where natural variance in detrital accessory mineral populations results in a broad range of diffusion kinetics and great dispersion in corresponding cooling dates. This thesis integrates contemporary thermochronometer diffusion and annealing kinetics to investigate the burial and exhumation history of two natural laboratories. In the Mackenzie Mountains and Plain of the Northwest Territories, long-term radiation damage accumulation in zircon from Neoproterozoic siliciclastic units produces ZHe dates that track Albian to Paleocene burial and exhumation in front of the foreland-propagating fold-thrust belt. For the Phanerozoic stratigraphic section, AFT annealing kinetics are calculated from Devonian and Cretaceous samples, and are incorporated into multi-kinetic AFT modeling. These kinetics also constrain AHe date-radiation damage trends, and when combined allow for an estimation on the magnitude of eroded sediment across regional pre-Albian and post-Paleocene unconformities. Finally, conodont (U-Th)/He data from Anticosti Island, Québec in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence are compared with ZHe, AHe and AFT data to test their utility as a thermochronometer for carbonate basin analysis. These data evince a Mesozoic thermal history previously unattributed to the region. Ultimately, this thesis provides a novel assessment on the ways in which thermochronometer date dispersion can be quantified to assess the thermal evolution of sedimentary basins from burial through to inversion.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35994
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -