Remnants of a Late Triassic continental margin and ocean basin are scattered across central and southern Alaska. Little is known about the fundamental nature of the margin because most remnants have not been studied in detail and a protracted period of terrane accretion and margin-parallel translation has disrupted original stratigraphic and structural relationships. Three new conodont collections were recovered from a sequence of Upper Triassic calcareous sedimentary rocks in the central Alaska Range. One of the three localities is north of the Denali fault system in an area previously thought to be underlain by an uninterrupted sequence of metamorphic rocks of the parautochthonous Yukon- Tanana terrane. Structural relations in the immediate vicinity of this conodont locality indicate that mid Cretaceous(?) thrust faulting imbricated Paleozoic metaigneous rocks with the Triassic sedimentary rocks. This may reflect a closer pre Cretaceous relationship between the Yukon-Tanana terrane and Late Triassic shelf and slope deposits than previously appreciated. Reexamination of existing conodont collections from the central Alaska Range indicates that Upper Triassic marine slope and basin rocks range in age from at least as old as the late Carnian to the early middle Norian. The conodont assemblages typical of these rocks are generally cosmopolitan and do not define a distinct paleogeographic faunal realm. One collection, however, contains Epigondolella multidentata sensu Orchard 1991c, which appears to be restricted to western North American autochthonous rocks. Although paleogeographic relations cannot be determined with specificity, the present distribution of biofaces within the UpperTriassic sequence could not have been the result of simple accordion-style collapse of the Late Triassic margin. Copyright ?? 2007 The Geological Society of America.
Additional Publication Details
Upper triassic continental margin strata of the central alaska range: Implications for paleogeographic reconstruction
Special Paper of the Geological Society of America