Skip to main content

Skip to navigation

The access keys for this page are:

Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

GeoFile 2011-11: A Digital Atlas of Terranes for the Northern Cordillera

by M. Colpron and J.L. Nelson

View GeoFile 2011-11 Readme document (PDF, 108 KB)

Download PDF files (ZIP, 6.3 MB)

Download Adobe Illustrator files (ZIP, 25 MB)

Download Corel Draw files (ZIP, 14 MB)

Download Image files (ZIP, 7.3 MB)

Download GIS data files (ZIP, 1.9 MB)

Download Map Package files (ZIP, 234 MB)


The framework of the Cordilleran orogen of northwestern North America is commonly depicted as a ‘collage’ of terranes – crustal blocks containing records of a variety of geodynamic environments including continental fragments, pieces of island arc crust and oceanic crust. The series of maps available here are derived from a GIS compilation of terranes based on the map published by Colpron et al. (2007) and Nelson and Colpron (2007), and include modifications from recent regional mapping. These maps are presented here in a variety of digital format including ArcGIS file geodatabase (.gdb), shapefiles (.shp and related files) and Map Packages (.mpk), as well as in a number of graphic formats (Adobe Illustrator CS3, CorelDraw X3, PDF and JPEG). The GIS data includes individual terrane layers for British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska, as well as a layer showing selected major Late Cretaceous and Tertiary strike-slip faults. Graphic files derived from the GIS compilation were prepared for the Northern Cordillera (Alaska, Yukon and BC), the Canadian Cordillera (BC and Yukon), Yukon, and British Columbia. These maps are intended for page-size display (~1:5,000,000 and smaller). Polygons are accurate to ~1 km for Yukon and BC, and ~5 km for Alaska. More detailed geological data are available from both BC Geological Survey and Yukon Geological Survey websites. Descriptions of the terranes, their tectonic evolution and metallogeny can be found in Colpron et al. (2007), Nelson and Colpron (2007), Colpron and Nelson (2009), and references therein.

The terrane map project is a collaborative effort of the BC Geological Survey and Yukon Geological Survey.

Colpron, M., Nelson, J.L. and Murphy, D.C., 2007. Northern Cordilleran terranes and their interactions through time. GSA Today, vol. 17, no. 4/5, p. 4-10.

Colpron, M. and Nelson, J.L., 2009. A Palaeozoic Northwest Passage: incursion of Caledonian, Baltican and Siberian terranes into eastern Panthalassa, and the early evolution of the North American Cordillera. In: Earth Accretionary Systems in Space and Time, P.A. Cawood and A. Kröner (eds.), Geological Society of London, Special Publications 318, p. 273-307.

Nelson, J.L. and Colpron, M., 2007. Tectonics and metallogeny of the Canadian and Alaskan Cordillera, 1.8 Ga to present. In: Mineral Deposits of Canada: A Synthesis of Major Deposit Types, District Metallogeny, the Evolution of Geological Provinces, and Exploration Methods, W.D. Goodfellow (ed.), Mineral Deposit Division, Geological Association of Canada, Special Publication 5, p. 755-791.


Recommended citation:
Colpron, M. and Nelson, J.L., 2011. A Digital Atlas of Terranes for the Northern Cordillera. Accessed online from Yukon Geological Survey (, [DATE].


Colpron, M. and Nelson, J.L., (2011): A Digital Atlas of Terranes for the Northern Cordillera; British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines, BCGS GeoFile 2011-11.

All publications of the BC Geological Survey are available digitally, free of charge, from this website.

For questions or more information on geology and minerals in British Columbia contact BCGS Mailbox or call toll free (BC Residents only).