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Regional variations in the fluvial Upper Devonian and Lower Mississippian(?) Kanayut Conglomerate, Brooks Range, Alaska

Sedimentary Geology

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Abstract

The wholly allochthonous Upper Devonian and Lower Mississippian(?) Kanayut Conglomerate is one of the most extensive fluvial deposits in North America. It crops out for 950 km along the crest of the Brooks Range in a series of thrust plates and is as thick as 2615 m. The Kanayut forms the fluvial part of a large, coarse-grained delta. The lower part of the Kanayut (the Ear Peak Member) overlies marginal-marine and prodelta turbidite deposits and consists of fining-upward meandering-stream-channel cycles of conglomerate and sandstone within black to maroon floodplain shale deposits. The middle part of the Kanayut (the Shainin Lake Member) lacks shale and consists of fining-upward couplets of channelized conglomerate and parallel- to cross-stratified sandstone interpreted as braidplain deposits. These deposits contain the largest clasts (23 cm) and were deposited during maximum progradation of the fluvial sequence. The upper part of the Kanayut (the Stuver Member), which consists of fining-upward meandering stream cycles similar to those of the lower part, grades upward into overlying Lower Mississippian tidal and marginal-marine deposits. Paleocurrent data and distribution of largest clasts indicate that the Kanayut was deposited by southwest-flowing streams fed by at least two major trunk streams that drained a mountainous region to the north and east. Comparison of stratigraphic and sedimentologic data collected at three selected locations representative of proximal, intermediate and distal parts of the Kanayut basin reveal regional variations in its fluvial character. These include a decrease in total thickness of fluvial strata, an increase in total thickness of associated marine sandstone, the pinch-out of the coarse-grained middle part of the Kanayut and decreases in the conglomerate/sandstone and sandstone/shale ratios from proximal to distal areas of the basin. The coarse-grained parts of the fluvial cycles decrease in thickness and lateral extent from proximal to distal areas of the basin. In more distal areas of sedimentation, the middle parts of some fluvial cycles consist of calcareous and bioturbated marine sandstone. Although thinner than in more proximal areas, the associated fine-grained upper parts of some cycles also contain marine features and suggest that these strata represent the deposits of interdistributary bays. These features are interpreted to indicate that the proximal deposits of the Kanayut Conglomerate were deposited by large, stable fine-grained meandering rivers (the Ear Peak and Stuver Members) and gravelly braided rivers (Shainin Lake Member) on the upper delta plain of the Kanayut delta. Sedimentation in more distal locations, interpreted to represent lower delta plain deposits, was by smaller distributary rivers with characteristics of both braided and meandering streams. Near their interface with marginal marine deposits the fluvial deposits were locally strongly influenced by tidal or estuarine conditions. ?? 1984.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Regional variations in the fluvial Upper Devonian and Lower Mississippian(?) Kanayut Conglomerate, Brooks Range, Alaska
Series title:
Sedimentary Geology
Volume
38
Issue:
1-4
Year Published:
1984
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Sedimentary Geology
First page:
465
Last page:
497
Number of Pages:
33