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Viola, ID, United States

Bradley D.C.,U.S. Geological Survey | McClelland W.C.,University of Iowa | Friedman R.M.,University of British Columbia | O'Sullivan P.,Apatite To Zircon | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Geology | Year: 2014

New U-Pb igneous and detrital zircon ages reveal that despite being separated by younger orogens, three of Alaska's terranes that contain Precambrian rocks-Farewell, Kilbuck, and Arctic Alaska-are related. The Farewell and Kilbuck terranes can be linked by felsic magmatism at ca. 850 Ma and by abundant detrital zircons in the Farewell that overlap the ca. 2010-2085 Ma age range of granitoids in the Kilbuck. The Farewell and Arctic Alaska terranes have already been linked via correlative Neoproterozoic to Devonian carbonate platform deposits that share nearly identical faunas of mixed Siberian and Laurentian affinity. New igneous ages strengthen these ties. Specifically, 988, 979, and 979 Ma metafelsites in the Farewell terrane are close in age to a 971 Ma granitic orthogneiss in the Arctic Alaska terrane. Likewise, 852, 850, 845, and 837 Ma granitic orthogneisses, metafelsite, and rhyolite in the Farewell terrane are similar to the reported 874 to 848 Ma age range of metarhyolites in the Arctic Alaska terrane. The Kilbuck and Arctic Alaska terranes have been previously linked on the basis of provenance: detrital zircons from the Carboniferous Nuka Formation in the Arctic Alaska terrane range from 2013 to 2078 Ma, overlapping the age of Kilbuck granitoids. A new 849 Ma age of a Kilbuck granitoid strengthens the proposed connection. Among the other new results from Kilbuck terrane is a 2085 Ma zircon from a granitoid that now stands as the oldest tightly dated rock in Alaska. We conclude that the Kilbuck, Farewell, and Arctic Alaska terranes were not independent entities with unique geologic histories but instead are related pieces of the circum-Arctic tectonic puzzle. © 2014 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.


Hults C.P.,U.S. Geological Survey | Wilson F.H.,U.S. Geological Survey | Donelick R.A.,Apatite To Zircon | O'Sullivan P.B.,Apatite To Zircon
Lithosphere | Year: 2013

The provenance of Jurassic to Cretaceous flysch along the northern boundary of the allochthonous Wrangellia composite terrane, exposed from the Lake Clark region of southwest Alaska to the Nutzotin Mountains in eastern Alaska, suggests that the flysch can be divided into two belts having different sources. On the north, the Kahiltna flysch and Kuskokwim Group overlie and were derived from the Farwell and Yukon-Tanana terranes, as well as smaller related terranes that were part of the paleo-Alaskan margin. Paleocurrent indicators for these two units suggest that they derived sediment from the north and west. Sandstones are predominantly lithic wacke that contain abundant quartz grains, lithic rock fragments, and detrital mica, which suggest that these rocks were derived from recycled orogen and arc sources. Conglomerates contain limestone clasts that have fossils matching terranes that made up the paleo-Alaskan margin. In contrast, flysch units on the south overlie and were derived from the Wrangellia composite terrane. Paleocurrent indicators for these units suggest that they derived sediment from the south. Sandstones are predominantly feldspathic wackes that contain abundant plagioclase grains and volcanic rock fragments, which suggest these rocks were derived from an arc. Clast compositions in conglomerate south of the boundary match rock types of the Wrangellia composite terrane. The distributions of detrital zircon ages also differentiate the flysch units. Flysch units on the north average 54% Mesozoic, 14% Paleozoic, and 32% Precambrian detrital zircons, reflecting derivation from the older Yukon-Tanana, Farewell, and other terranes that made up the paleo-Alaskan margin. In comparison, flysch units on the south average 94% Mesozoic, 1% Paleozoic, and 5% Precambrian zircons, which are consistent with derivation from the Mesozoic oceanic magmatic arc rocks in the Wrangellia composite terrane. In particular, the flysch units on the south contain a large proportion of zircons ranging from 135 to 175 Ma, corresponding to the age of the Chitina magmatic arc in the Wrangellia terrane and the plutons of the Peninsular terrane, which are part of the Wrangellia composite terrane. Flysch units on the north do not contain signifi cant numbers of zircons in this age range. The flysch overlying the Wrangellia composite terrane apparently does not contain detritus derived from rocks of the paleo-Alaska margin, and the flysch overlying the paleo-Alaskan margin apparently does not contain detritus derived from the Wrangellia composite terrane. The provenance difference between the two belts helps to constrain the location of the northern boundary of the Wrangellia composite terrane. Geophysical models place a deep, through-going, crustal-scale suture zone in the area between the two flysch belts. The difference in the provenance of the two belts supports this interpretation. The youngest flysch is Late Cretaceous in age, and structural disruption of the flysch units is constrained to the Late Cretaceous, so it appears that the Wrangellia composite terrane was not near the paleo-Alaskan margin until the Late Cretaceous. © 2013 Geological Society of America.

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