40Ar 39Ar ages of volcanic rocks are used to provide numerical constraints on the age of middle and upper Miocene sedimentary strata collected along the Porcupine River. Intercalated sedimentary rocks north of latitude 67??10???N in the Porcupine terrane of east-central Alaska contain a rich record of plant fossils. The fossils are valuable indicators of this interior region's paleoclimate during the time of their deposition. Integration of the 40Ar 39Ar results with paleomagnetic and sedimentological data allows for refinements in estimating the timing of deposition and duration of selected sedimentary intervals. 40Ar 39Ar plateau age spectra, from whole rock basalt samples, collected along the Upper Ramparts and near Half-way Pillar on the Porcupine River, range from 15.7 ?? 0.1 Ma at site 90-6 to 14.4 ?? 0.1 Ma at site 90-2. With exception of the youngest basalt flow at site 90-2, all of the samples are of reversed magnetic polarity, and all 40Ar 39Ar age spectrum results are consistent with the deposition of the entire stratigraphic section during a single interval of reversed magnetic polarity. The youngest flow at site 90-2 was emplaced during an interval of normal polarity. With age, paleomagnetic and sedimentological data, the ages of the Middle Miocene sedimentary rocks between the basalt flows at sites 90-1 and 90-2 can be assigned to an interval within the limits of analytical precision of 15.2 ?? 0.1 Ma; thus, the sediments were deposited during the peak of the Middle Miocene thermal maximum. Sediments in the upper parts of sites 90-1 and 90-2 were probably deposited during cooling from the Middle Miocene thermal maximum. 40Ar 39Ar results of plagioclase and biotite from a single tephra, collected at sites 90-7 and 90-8 along the Canyon Village section of the Porcupine River, indicate an age of 6.57 ?? 0.02 Ma for its time of eruption and deposition. These results, together with sedimentological and paleomagnetic data, suggest that all of the Upper Miocene lacustrine sedimentary rocks at these sites were deposited during a single interval of reversed magnetic polarity and may represent a duration of only about 40,000 years. The age of this tephra corresponds with a late late Miocene warm climatic interval. The results from the Upper Ramparts and Half-way Pillar sites are used to estimate a minimum interval of continental flood basalt activity of 1.1-1.5 million years, and to set limits for the timing and duration of Tertiary extensional tectonic activity in the Porcupine terrane. Our data indicate that the oroclinal flexure that formed before the deposition of the basalts at the eastern end of the Brooks Range was created prior to 15.7 ?? 0.1 Ma. ?? 1994.
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40Ar 39Ar age constraints on neogene sedimentary beds, Upper Ramparts, half-way Pillar and Canyon village sites, Porcupine river, east-central Alaska