Phanerozoic surface history of the Slave craton
Article first published online: 17 SEP 2013
©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Volume 32, Issue 5, pages 1066–1083, September/October 2013
How to Cite
2013), Phanerozoic surface history of the Slave craton, Tectonics, 32, 1066–1083, doi:10.1002/tect.20069., , and (
- Issue published online: 25 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 17 SEP 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 2 AUG 2013 09:36AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 12 JUL 2013
- National Science Foundation. Grant Number: EAR-0711451
- Apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronometry;
- Slave craton;
- dynamic topography
 New apatite (U-Th)/He (AHe) thermochronometry data and key geologic constraints from Slave craton kimberlites are used to develop a model for the Phanerozoic burial, unroofing, and hypsometric history of the northwestern Canadian shield. AHe dates range from 210 ± 13 to 382 ± 79 Ma, are older in the eastern Slave craton and decrease westward, and resolve the spatial extent, thickness, and history of now-denuded sedimentary units. Results indicate Paleozoic heating to temperatures ≥85–90°C, suggesting regional burial beneath ≥2.8 km of strata while the region was at sea level, followed by the westward migration of unroofing across the craton. This Paleozoic-Mesozoic history does not correlate with sea level change, instead requiring Paleozoic subsidence of the craton followed by surface uplift. The AHe data restrict Cretaceous burial to ≤1.6 km, followed by unroofing, Eocene terrestrial sediment deposition, and removal of Phanerozoic sedimentary cover across the region by present day. The craton underwent ≥300 m of post-100 Ma elevation gain, based on ~100 Ma marine sedimentary xenoliths entrained in ~75–45 Ma kimberlites at modern elevations of 550–600 m. The transition from Paleozoic-Mesozoic subsidence to surface uplift may signal a change from predominantly northern (Franklinian-Innuitian) to western (Canadian Cordillera) plate boundary controls on continental interior processes, with the latter driving the east-to-west wave of unroofing. Canadian Cordillera evolution also affected the Cretaceous-early Tertiary history. Dynamic topography due to changing mantle flow regimes and proximity to sediment sources influenced the Phanerozoic surface evolution of the northwestern Canadian shield.