The middle Upper Pennsylvanian and middle Lower Permian Strathearn Formation belongs to the overlap assemblage of the Antler orogen in Nevada. At Beaver Peak, near the Carlin Trend of gold deposits, it contains synorogenic conglomerate deposits associated with emplacement of a regionally extensive, 1-km-thick tectonic wedge that is floored by the Coyote thrust. Normal marine conodont biofacies throughout the Strathearn Formation suggest middle shelf or deeper, depositional environments. The allochthon floored by the Coyote thrust has been thrust above a middle Upper Pennsylvanian, lower conglomerate unit of the Strathearn Formation. A middle Lower Permian upper conglomerate unit, the highest unit recognized in the Strathearn Formation, as well as similarly aged dolomitic siltstone, onlap directly onto Ordovician quartzarenite of the Vinini Formation that makes up most of the Coyote allochthon. Quartz grains and quartzarenite fragments of variable roundness and shape in the conglomerate units were derived from the presently adjoining tectonic lobe of mostly quartzarenite that advanced southeast (present geographic coordinates) during the late Paleozoic into the developing Strathearn basin. Chert fragments in the conglomerates probably were derived mostly from Devonian Slaven Chert, including a widespread thick me??lange unit of the Slaven Chert in the footwall of the Coyote thrust.Lithologic and shape ratio data from approximately 4200 clasts at 17 sites of the two major conglomerate units in the Strathearn Formation at Beaver Peak are roughly similar in that they contain only chert and quartzarenite clasts, and chert clasts predominate in both units. They differ in the relative proportion of the two lithologies whereby quartzarenite clasts increase sixfold in the upper unit (middle Lower Permian) versus its content in the lower conglomerate unit. Relations at the unconformity between the upper conglomerate unit and its underlying quartzarenite shows quartzarenite fragments actually breaking away from an immediately subjacent source. Ordovocian quartzarenite, which forms a tectonically uplifted wedge with the Coyote thrust at its base, became a source region for much of the quartzarenite detritus deposited preferentially in the upper parts of the Strathearn Formation. The conglomerate units of the Strathearn Formation temporally bracket emplacement of the Coyote thrust. Thrusting related to contractional reactivation of the Robert Mountains thrust system largely was completed by middle Early Permian. ?? 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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Synthrusting deposition of the Pennsylvanian and Permian Strathearn Formation, Northern Carlin Trend, Nevada