Petrology and stratigraphy of Paleogene nonmarine sandstones, Cascade Range, Washington

Open-File Report 79-1149




The Cascade Range of Washington north of 47? latitude is composed of probable Paleozoic and Mesozoic metamorphic rocks and Mesozoic and Tertiary plutonic rocks. Several Paleogene nonmarine arkosic sandstone units fringe and in part occur within the complex crystalline core. The early to middle Eocene Chuckanut Formation is present on the west side of the crystalline core in the western foothills of the Cascades. The early to middle Eocene Swauk Formation partially encircles the Mt. Stuart massif of the central Cascades. In the western foothills of the Cascades, between the main body of Chuckanut Formation near Bellingham and the main outcrop area of the Swauk Formation south of Mt. Stuart, many smaller bodies of arkosic sandstone have variously been referred to either the Swauk or Chuckanut Formations. The early Eocene Manastash Formation occurs locally in an area south of the Yakima River. The middle to late Eocene Chumstick Formation is mostly confined to the Chiwaukum graben within the crystalline core and is separated from the Swauk Formation on the southwest by the Leavenworth Fault. The Oligocene Wenatchee Formation unconformably over lies the Chumstick Formation near Wenatchee. The middle to late Eocene Roslyn Formation crops out north of the Yakima River and is underlain by the Teanaway Basalt which separates the Roslyn from the older Swauk Formation. The middle Eocene to early Oligocene Naches Formation forms a north-trending body that crosses the Yakima River and is in fault contact with both the Swauk and Manastash Formations. The middle to late Eocene Puget Group underlies the Quaternary deposits of the Puget Lowland southeast of Seattle on the western flank of the Cascades. The various formations are all composed predominantly of fine- to medium-grained sandstones with lesser amounts of interbedded shale, conglomerate and coal. Compositionally, the units are predominantly either feldspathic or litho-feldspathic subquartzose sandstones. Volcanic rocks are important constituents of the Puget Group, the Chumstick and Naches Formations, and the isolated arkosic bodies. The three older units, however, contain relatively less volcanic lithics to total lithics than do younger units, indicating perhaps the initiation of more widespread volcanic activity in middle Eocene time. Ratios of framework grain parameters show that the terrestrial sandstone units were derived from a mixed plutonic and tectonic source terrane of continental block tectonic provenance with an overprint of magmatic arc provenance. Modal analysis was performed on samples from the various sedimentary units to establish petrologic compositions, and to provide data with which to compare the different units and discuss clast provenance and tectonic regimen. Although the arkosic sandstones have generally uniform framework clast compositions, minor yet significant differences do exist between the units. Basal or basement-onlap portions of the units in particular are locally derived and differ markedly from the overall compositions of the individual units. Many coincidences of composition, age, structure, and bedrock indicate that the Chuckanut and Swauk may have originally been deposited as a single unit that since has been offset approximately 160 kilometers by right lateral strike slip motion starting about 48 Ma. If this hypothetical offset did occur, then major movement on the Straight Creek Fault is bracketed between about 48 Ma and Oligocene time.

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Petrology and stratigraphy of Paleogene nonmarine sandstones, Cascade Range, Washington
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
ix, 151 p, 3 over-size sheets., maps (some fold. in envelope) ;28 cm.