The Late Cretaceous Gwillim Creek shear zone (GCSZ) exposed in the core of the Valhalla complex, and located in the hinterland of the southern Canadian Rocky Mountain thrust belt, is a 5-7 km thick, easterly verging, ductile thrust zone. It was active after c. 90 Ma and during anatexis (800°C and 800 MPa), rose eastward in the direction of transport, and its base was refrigerated from below at c. 60 Ma by thrust translation onto a cold footwall. Extensional shear zones are younger than the GCSZ, and there is no evidence of channel flow or ductile extrusion. Instead, a 30 km thick, coherent sheet was translated on the GCSZ, which at depth was linked to the Foreland thrust belt such as to form a composite crystalline thrust sheet. Doming of the Valhalla complex may be related to Eocene thrusting beneath the complex during the last stage of shortening. A channel flow, proposed by others for the region north of the Valhalla complex, could have evolved within the crystalline sheet by activation of lateral transition zones and an upper detachment, but is no wider than 250 km, does not represent the dominant orogenic process and may represent a nascent channel.
Department of Earth Sciences

Carr, S, & Simony, P.S. (Philip S.). (2006). Ductile thrusting versus channel flow in the southeastern Canadian Cordillera: Evolution of a coherent crystalline thrust sheet. doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.2006.268.01.26