Cenozoic strata exposed along the Porcupine River between the Upper Ramparts and Canyon Village, Alaska, can be divided into five unconformity-bounded units (sequences) which are: lower and middle Miocene unit A, the white sandy fluvial sequence with peat beds; middle Miocene unit B, the basalt sequence-part B1 is basalt, and part B2 is organic-rich sedimentary beds; upper Miocene unit C, mudrock-dominated lake sequence; late Miocene or Pliocene to Pleistocene unit D, terrace gravels, detrital organic matter and associated sediments, and Holocene unit E, mixed sand and gravel-rich sediment and other sedimentary material including peat and eolian silt. The sequence (unit A) of lower and middle Miocene fluvial deposits formed in streams and on flood plains, just before the inception of local volanism. Fossil pollen from unit A suggests conifer-dominated regional forests and cool temperate climates. Peat beds and lake deposits from unit B contain pollen that indicates a warmer temperate climate coinciding with the middle Miocene thermal maximum. The lake deposits (unit C) downstream from the basalts accumulated in a small basin which resulted from a hydrologic system that was dammed in the late Miocene but breached soon thereafter. The lower part of the terrace gravels (unit D) expresses breaching of the dammed hydrologic system (of unit C). The Porcupine River became a major tributary of the Yukon River in late Pleistocene time when Laurentide ice blocked drainage from the Yukon interior basins causing meltwater to spill over the low divide separating it from the Porcupine River drainage initiating erosion and capture of the Yukon interior basins. ?? 1994.
Additional Publication Details
Miocene and Pliocene lacustrine and fluvial sequences, Upper Ramparts and Canyon village, Porcupine river, east-central Alaska