Stratigraphic, sedimentologic, and palynologic data were used to correlate the Frontier Formation of the western Centennial Mountains with time-equivalent rocks in the Lima Peaks area and other nearby areas in southwestern Montana. The stratigraphic interval studied is in the middle and upper parts (but not uppermost) of the formation based on a comparison of sandstone petrography, palynologic age data, and our interpretation of the structure using a seismic line along the frontal zone of the Centennial Mountains and the adjacent Centennial Valley. The Frontier Formation is comprised of sandstone, siltstone, mudstone, limestone, and silty shale in fluvial and coastal depositional settings. A distinctive characteristic of these strata in the western Centennial Mountains is the absence of conglomerate and conglomeratic sandstone beds. Absence of conglomerate beds may be due to lateral facies changes associated with fluvial systems, a distal fining of grain size, and the absence of both uppermost and lower Frontier rocks in the study area. Palynostratigraphic data indicate a Coniacian age for the Frontier Formation in the western Centennial Mountains. These data are supported by a geochronologic age from the middle part of the Frontier at Lima Peaks indicating a possible late Coniacian-early Santonian age (86.25 ?? 0.38 Ma) for the middle Frontier there. The Frontier Formation in the western Centennial Mountains is comparable in age and thickness to part of the Frontier at Lima Peaks. These rocks represent one of the thickest known sequences of Frontier strata in the Rocky Mountain region. Deposition was from about 95 to 86 Ma (middle Cenomanian to at least early Santonian), during which time, shoreface sandstone of the Telegraph Creek Formation and marine shale of the Cody Shale were deposited to the east in the area now occupied by the Madison Range in southwestern Montana. Frontier strata in the western Centennial Mountains are structurally isolated from other Cretaceous rocks in the region and are part of the Lima thrust sheet that lies at the leading edge of the Sevier-style overthrusting in this part of southwestern Montana and adjacent southeastern Idaho.
Additional Publication Details
Stratigraphy and structural setting of Upper Cretaceous Frontier Formation, western Centennial Mountains, southwestern Montana and southeastern Idaho