The Resurrection Peninsula ophiolite

By: , and 
Edited by: Steven W. Nelson and Thomas D. Hamilton



The Resurrection Peninsula forms the east side of Resurrection Bay (fig. 3). Relief ranges from 437 m (1,434 ft) at the southern end of the peninsula to more than 1,463 m (4,800 ft) opposite the head of the bay. All rock units composing the informally named Resurrection Peninsula ophiolite of Nelson and others (1987) are visible or accessible by boat.

"Ophiolite" has been a geologic term since 1827 (Coleman, 1977). The term "ophiolite" initially referred to the rock serpentinite; the Greek root "ophi" (meaning snake or serpent) alluded to the greenish, mottled, and shiny appearance of serpentinites. In 1927, Steinmann described a rock association in the Alps, sometimes known as the "Steinmann Trinity', consisting of serpentine, diabase and spilitic lavas, and chert. Recognition of this suite led to the idea that ophiolites represent submarine magmatism that took place early in the development of a eugeosyncline. In the early 1970s the Steinmann Trinity was reconsidered in light of the plate tectonic theory, new petrologic studies, and the recognition of abducted oceanic lithosphere in orogenic belts of the world. In 1972 at a Geological Society of America Penrose Conference (Anonymous, 1972) the term "ophiolite" was defined as a distinctive assemblage of mafic to ultramafic rocks, with no emphasis on their origin. A complete ophiolite should contain, from bottom to top:

1) Tectonized ultramafic rocks (more or less serpentinized)

2) Gabbro complex containing cumulus textures and commonly cumulus peridotites

3) Mafic sheeted-dike complex, grading upward into;

4) Submarine pillow lavas of basaltic composition. Common associated rock types include plagiogranite (Na-rich) and an overlying sedimentary section typically dominated by chert.

Study Area

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title The Resurrection Peninsula ophiolite
Year Published 1989
Language English
Publisher Alaska Geological Society
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Guide to the ceology of the Resurrection Bay - Eastern Kenai Fjords area
First page 9
Last page 20
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Resurrection Peninsula
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details