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Reconstruction of an early Paleozoic continental margin based on the nature of protoliths in the Nome Complex, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

GSA Special Papers
By: , and 

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Abstract

The Nome Complex is a large metamorphic unit that sits along the southern boundary of the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane, the largest of several micro continental fragments of uncertain origin located between the Siberian and Laurentian cratons. The Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane moved into its present position during the Mesozoic; its Mesozoic and older movements are central to reconstruction of Arctic tectonic history. Accurate representation of the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane in reconstructions of Late Proterozoic and early Paleozoic paleogeography is hampered by the paucity of information available. Most of the Late Proterozoic to Paleozoic rocks in the Alaska–Chukotka terrane were penetratively deformed and recrystallized during the Mesozoic deformational events; primary features and relationships have been obliterated, and age control is sparse.

We use a variety of geochemical, geochronologic, paleontologic, and geologic tools to read through penetrative deformation and reconstruct the protolith sequence of part of the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane, the Nome Complex. We confirm that the protoliths of the Nome Complex were part of the same Late Proterozoic to Devonian continental margin as weakly deformed rocks in the southern and central part of the terrane, the Brooks Range. We show that the protoliths of the Nome Complex represent a carbonate platform (and related rocks) that underwent incipient rifting, probably during the Ordovician, and that the carbonate platform was overrun by an influx of siliciclastic detritus during the Devonian. During early phases of the transition to siliciclastic deposition, restricted basins formed that were the site of sedimentary exhalative base-metal sulfide deposition. Finally, we propose that most of the basement on which the largely Paleozoic sedimentary protolith was deposited was subducted during the Mesozoic.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Reconstruction of an early Paleozoic continental margin based on the nature of protoliths in the Nome Complex, Seward Peninsula, Alaska
Series title GSA Special Papers
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals, Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
Description Paper 506: 28 p.
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Nome Complex