Upper Cretaceous strata of the upper part of the Nanushuk Formation, the Seabee Formation, and the lower part of the Tuluvak Formation are exposed along the Colville River on the east flank of Umiat Mountain in north-central Alaska. The Ninuluk sandstone, which is the uppermost unit of the Nanushuk Formation, displays a vertical succession of facies indicative of deposition in an upward-deepening estuarine through shoreface setting. A marine-flooding surface lies between the Ninuluk sandstone and organic-rich shale of the basal part of the Seabee Formation. The Ninuluk sandstone and the lower part of the Seabee Formation are interpreted as components of a transgressive-systems tract.
The lowest, well-exposed strata in the Seabee Formation are a succession of shoreface sandstone beds in the middle of the formation. Integration of outcrop information and the Umiat No. 11 well log suggests that this sandstone succession rests on a sequence boundary and is capped by a marine-flooding surface. The sandstone succession is interpreted as a lowstand-systems tract.
The upper part of the Seabee Formation includes a thick interval of organic-rich shale deposited in a dysaerobic offshore environment, and the gradational Seabee-Tuluvak contact is a coarsening-upward shale-to-sandstone succession deposited in a prodelta/delta-front environment. The observation that the upper part of the Seabee Formation correlates with seismic clinoforms suggests that dysaerobic conditions extended well up onto the prodelta slope during intervals of transgression and highstand.
Correlation of the Umiat Mountain outcrop section with well logs and seismic data suggests that sequence boundaries and lowstand shoreface deposits may be common in the Seabee Formation and that wave action may have been important in transporting sand to the paleoshelf margin. These conclusions may contribute to an enhanced understanding of sand distribution in prospective lowstand turbidite deposits in the subsurface of the central North Slope of Alaska.
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Sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of the Cretaceous Nanushuk, Seabee, and Tuluvak formations exposed on Umiat Mountain, north-central Alaska
18 p.; plate (11 in. x 28 in.)
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Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2004