Insular Plate

The Insular Plate was an ancient oceanic plate that began subducting under the west-coast of North America around the early Cretaceous period. The Insular Plate had a chain of active volcanic islands that were called the Insular Islands. These volcanic islands, however, collided then fused onto the west-coast of North America when the Insular Plate jammed then shut down ending the subduction zone.[1]

Insular Omineca arcs
Plate tectonics along the west coast of North America 130 million years ago

See also


  1. ^ Townsend, Catherine L.; Figge, John T. (2002). "The Coast Range Episode". Northwest Origins: An Introduction to the Geologic History of Washington State. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
Coast Mountains

The Coast Mountains are a major mountain range in the Pacific Coast Ranges of western North America, extending from southwestern Yukon through the Alaska Panhandle and virtually all of the Coast of British Columbia south to the Fraser River. The mountain range's name derives from its proximity to the sea coast, and it is often referred to as the Coast Range. The range includes volcanic and non-volcanic mountains and the extensive ice fields of the Pacific and Boundary Ranges, and the northern end of the volcanic system known as the Cascade Volcanoes. The Coast Mountains are part of a larger mountain system called the Pacific Coast Ranges or the Pacific Mountain System, which includes the Cascade Range, the Insular Mountains, the Olympic Mountains, the Oregon Coast Range, the California Coast Ranges, the Saint Elias Mountains and the Chugach Mountains. The Coast Mountains are also part of the American Cordillera—a Spanish term for an extensive chain of mountain ranges—that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western backbone of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica.

The Coast Mountains are approximately 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) long and average 300 kilometres (190 mi) in width. The range's southern and southeastern boundaries are surrounded by the Fraser River and the Interior Plateau while its far northwestern edge is delimited by the Kelsall and Tatshenshini Rivers at the north end of the Alaska Panhandle, beyond which are the Saint Elias Mountains, and by Champagne Pass in the Yukon Territory. Covered in dense temperate rainforest on its western exposures, the range rises to heavily glaciated peaks, including the largest temperate-latitude ice fields in the world. On its eastern flanks, the range tapers to the dry Interior Plateau and the subarctic boreal forests of the Skeena Mountains and Stikine Plateau.

The Coast Mountains are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire—the ring of volcanoes and associated mountains around the Pacific Ocean—and contain some of British Columbia's highest mountains. Mount Waddington is the highest mountain of the Coast Mountains and the highest that lies entirely within British Columbia, located northeast of the head of Knight Inlet with an elevation of 4,019 metres (13,186 ft).

Geologic timeline of Western North America

A timeline of significant geological events in the evolution of western North America. Dates are approximate. ("Ma" = millions of years ago)

Insular Islands

The Insular Islands were a giant chain of active volcanic islands somewhere in the Pacific Ocean during the Cretaceous period that rode on top a microplate called the Insular Plate, beginning around 130 million years ago. The Insular Islands were surrounded by two prehistoric oceans, the Panthalassa Ocean to the west and the Bridge River Ocean to the east. About 115 million years ago, these islands collided with the North American continent, fusing onto the North American Plate and closing the Bridge River Ocean during the Mid-Cretaceous time.

The Insular Islands formed at least 210 million years before the collision. Like the earlier Intermontane Islands, the large size of the islands prevented them from being pushed under the North American Plate. Instead, the Insular Islands were crumpled and crushed along the shoreline of North America to become part of the continent. The Insular Plate stopped subducting under North America; the subduction zone moved to the Farallon Trench further westward. The rocks that comprised the Insular Islands now form a large geologic feature along the coast of North America known as the Insular Belt.

Intermontane Belt

The Intermontane Belt is a physiogeological region in the Pacific Northwest of North America, stretching from northern Washington into British Columbia, Yukon, and Alaska. It comprises rolling hills, high plateaus and deeply cut valleys. The rocks in the belt have very little similarities with the North American continent.

Intermontane Plate

The Intermontane Plate was an ancient oceanic tectonic plate that lay on the west coast of North America about 195 million years ago. The Intermontane Plate was surrounded by a chain of volcanic islands called the Intermontane Islands, which had been accumulating as a volcanic chain in the Pacific Ocean since the Triassic period, beginning around 245 million years ago. The volcanism records yet another subduction zone. Beneath the far edge of the Intermontane microplate, another plate called the Insular Plate was sinking. This arrangement with two parallel subduction zones is unusual. The modern Philippine Islands are located on the Philippine Mobile Belt, one of the few places on Earth where twin subduction zones exist today. Geologists call the ocean between the Intermontane islands and North America the Slide Mountain Ocean. The name comes from the Slide Mountain Terrane, a region made of rocks from the floor of the ancient ocean.

List of tectonic plates

This is a list of tectonic plates on the Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around 100 km (62 mi) thick and consist of two principal types of material: oceanic crust (also called sima from silicon and magnesium) and continental crust (sial from silicon and aluminium). The composition of the two types of crust differs markedly, with mafic basaltic rocks dominating oceanic crust, while continental crust consists principally of lower-density felsic granitic rocks.

Volcanology of Canada

Volcanology of Canada includes lava flows, lava plateaus, lava domes, cinder cones, stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes, submarine volcanoes, calderas, diatremes, and maars, along with examples of more less common volcanic forms such as tuyas and subglacial mounds. It has a very complex volcanological history spanning from the Precambrian eon at least 3.11 billion years ago when this part of the North American continent began to form.Although the country's volcanic activity dates back to the Precambrian eon, volcanism continues to occur in Western and Northern Canada where it forms part of an encircling chain of volcanoes and frequent earthquakes around the Pacific Ocean called the Pacific Ring of Fire. But because volcanoes in Western and Northern Canada are in remote rugged areas and the level of volcanic activity is less frequent than with other volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean, Canada is commonly thought to occupy a gap in the Pacific Ring of Fire between the volcanoes of western United States to the south and the Aleutian volcanoes of Alaska to the north. However, the mountainous landscape of Western and Northern Canada includes more than 100 volcanoes that have been active during the past two million years and whose eruptions have claimed many lives. Volcanic activity has been responsible for many of Canada's geological and geographical features and mineralization, including the nucleus of North America called the Canadian Shield.

Volcanism has led to the formation of hundreds of volcanic areas and extensive lava formations across Canada, indicating volcanism played a major role in shaping its surface. The country's different volcano and lava types originate from different tectonic settings and types of volcanic eruptions, ranging from passive lava eruptions to violent explosive eruptions. Canada has a rich record of very large volumes of magmatic rock called large igneous provinces. They are represented by deep-level plumbing systems consisting of giant dike swarms, sill provinces and layered intrusions. The most capable large igneous provinces in Canada are Archean (3,800–2,500 million years ago) age greenstone belts containing a rare volcanic rock called komatiite.



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