Sideritic lacustrine mudstone was found in drill core from a uranium deposit in the Death Valley area in the eastern part of the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. The precursor sediments for this rock were deposited in an unusual "iron-meromictic" Eocene lake, herein named Lake Tubutulik, which occupied part of the Boulder Creek basin, a structural graben that is probably a southern extension of the larger Death Valley basin. The Boulder Creek basin is bounded on the west by granite of the Late Cretaceous Darby Pluton, on the east by Precambrian to Paleozoic metasedimentary rocks. The lake basin was formed by basaltic flows that dammed the river valley of the ancestral Tubutulik River in early Eocene time. Lake Tubutulik contained a nearshore facies of fine-grained organic mud and an offshore facies of laminated sideritic mud. The offshore (profundal) laminated mudstone consists of alternating layers of authigenic siderite and detrital layers containing mostly quartz and clay minerals. Both lacustrine facies contain turbidities. The lacustrine sediments graded laterally into an onshore facies of colluvial and fluvial sandstone, paludal mudstone, and coal. The ancient lake apparently occupied a small deep basin in a tectonically active area of high relief. Meromixus was probably stabilized by reduced iron and bicarbonate dissolved in the monimolimnion. The intensity of meromixus decreased as the lake became shallower from sediment filling. The source of the iron, abundant in the monimolimnion of Lake Tubutulik, was probably the Eocene basalt. Based on carbon isotope analysis of the siderite, the dissolved bicarbonate in the profundal facies was largely inorganic. Sideritic carbon in one sample from the onshore paludal facies has an isotopic signature (??13C = +16.9) consistent with residual carbon formed during methanogenic fermentation. ?? 1988.
Additional publication details
Paleolimnology of Lake Tubutulik, an iron-meromictic Eocene Lake, eastern Seward Peninsula, Alaska