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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Petrology of several late tertiary gabbroic plugs in the south Cariboo region, British Columbia Farquharson, Robin Bruce

Abstract

Four olivine gabbro plugs crop out on the basaltic plateau in the south Cariboo region of British Columbia. The plugs form elliptical knobs of unaltered gabbro which stand 100 to 200 feet above the plateau surface. They are 300 to 600 feet in greatest diameter, as seen in plan view. Two plugs, Mt. Begbie and Forestry Hill, are described in detail in this thesis. Alignment of tabular feldspar grains resulting from the upward flow of magma, has produced a foliation in both Mt. Begbie and Forestry Hill plugs. Foliation dips toward the centre at moderate to steep angles in both plugs. Small, scattered lenses of leucogabbro and picritic gabbro lie approximately in the plane of foliation. Marginal foliation is assumed to be roughly parallel to the walls of the plug. Foliation trends indicate that both plugs are funnel-shaped, increasing in diameter toward the surface. The essential minerals of the plugs are olivine, calcic-augite and plagioclase. They are strongly zoned indicating a disequilibrium environment of crystallization. From a consideration of mineralogical and chemical characteristics it is concluded that the original magma was an alkali basalt magma. Differentiation by fractional crystallization produced small volumes of marginal dolerite and pegmatitic gabbro in the outer portions of Mt. Begbie plug. The trend of differentiation leads to iron-enrichment in the marginal dolerite, and then to alkali-enrichment in the pegmatitic gabbro. The four plugs occupy former volcanic vents which, in late Tertiary time, fed lava to the surrounding plateau. The exposed portions of the plugs crystallized possibly within 50 to 150 feet of the surface. General geological relationship, petrological similarity, and the close comparison of fused whole-rock powders suggest a definite kinship of the plugs to the surrounding basaltic lava.

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