Field guide to the Mesozoic accretionary complex along Turnagain Arm and Kachemak Bay, south-central Alaska

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Abstract

Turnagain Arm, just east of Anchorage, provides a readily accessible, world-class cross section through a Mesozoic accretionary wedge. Nearly continuous exposures along the Seward Highway, the Alaska Railroad, and the shoreline of Turnagain Arm display the two main constituent units of the Chugach terrane: the McHugh Complex and Valdez Group. In this paper we describe seven bedrock geology stops along Turnagain Arm, and two others in the Chugach Mountains just to the north (Stops 1-7 and 9), which will be visited as part of the May, 1997 field trip of the Alaska Geological Society. Outcrops along Turnagain Arm have already been described in two excellent guidebook articles (Clark, 1981; Winkler and others 1984), both of which remain as useful and valid today as when first published. Since the early 1980's, studies along Turnagain Arm have addressed radiolarian ages of chert and conodont ages of limestone in the McHugh Complex (Nelson and others, 1986, 1987); geochemistry of basalt in the McHugh Complex (Nelson and Blome, 1991); post-accretion brittle faulting (Bradley and Kusky, 1990; Kusky and others, 1997); and the age and tectonic setting of gold mineralization (Haeussler and others, 1995). Highlights of these newer findings will described both in the text below, and in the stop descriptions.

Superb exposures along the southeastern shore of Kachemak Bay show several other features of the McHugh Complex that are either absent or less convincing along Turnagain Arm. While none of these outcrops can be reached via the main road network, they are still reasonably accessible - all are within an hour by motorboat from Homer, seas permitting. Here, we describe seven outcrops along the shore of Kachemak Bay that we studied between 1989 and 1993 during geologic mapping of the Seldovia 1:250,000- scale quadrangle. These outcrops (Stops 61-67) will not be part of the 1997 itinerary, but are included here tor the benefit of those who may wish to visit them later.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Field guide to the Mesozoic accretionary complex along Turnagain Arm and Kachemak Bay, south-central Alaska
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher Alaska Geological Society
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title 1997 Guide to the Geology of the Kenai Peninsula. Alaska
First page 2
Last page 12
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Katchemak Bay, Turnagain Arm