Geology of the Deep Creek area, Washington, and its regional significance

Open-File Report 76-537




This report, although primarily concerned with the stratigraphy and structure of a lead-zinc mining district in northern Stevens County, Washington, discusses and integrates the geology of the region about the Deep Creek area. Although the study centers in an area of about 200 square miles immediately south of the International Boundary, the regional background comes from: (1)the previously undescribed Northport quadrangle to the west, (2) published reports and reconnaissance of the Metaline quadrangle to the east, and (3) from published reports and maps of a 16 mile wide area that lies to the north adjacent to these three quadrangles in British Columbia. The report is divided into three parts: (1) descriptions of rocks and structures of the Deep Creek area, (2) descriptions of the regional setting of the Deep Creek area, and (3) an analysis and interpretation of the depositional and tectonic events that produced the geologic features exposed today. In the Deep Creek area surficial deposits of sand and gravel of glacial origin cover much of the consolidated rocks, which range in age from greenschist of the late Precambrlan to albite granite of the Eocene. Three broad divisions of depositional history are represented: (1) Precambrian, (2) lower Paleozoic and (3) upper Paleozoic; the record of the Mesozoic and Eocene is fragmentary. The lower Paleozoic division is the only fossil-controlled sequence; the age of the other two divisions were established by less direct methods. Both Precambrian and upper Paleozoic sequences are dominated by fine-grained detrital sediments, the Precambrian tending towards the alumina-rich and the upper Paleozoic tending towards the black shale facies with high silica. Neither sequence has more than trivial amounts of coarse clastics. Both include limestones, but in minor abundance. The lower Paleozoic sequence, on the other hand, represents a progressive change in deposition. The sequence began during the very late Precambrian with the deposition of clean quartz sand. This was followed by the accumulation of a comparatively thin limestone unit succeeded by a thick shale. The shale grades into a thick carbonate unit which in turn is overlain by black graptolitic slates (Ordovician). This general order of deposition holds for the Cambro-Ordovician throughout the area. Precambrian rocks indigenous to the Deep Creek area, have undergone at least six tectonic events of greatly different intensities. The first three of these events are epeirogentic, the fourth involves intense folding, the fifth, crossfolding, and the sixth, block faulting without folding. These events are dated with varying degrees of precision. The two epeirogentic events of the Precambrian, one gentle folding at the beginning of Windermere time and the other high angle faulting and volcanism in mid-Windermere time, did little to deform or metamorphose the rocks. The third event consists of uplift of northern Idaho and adjacent Montana and westward decollement thrusting of essentially unfolded lower Paleozoic rocks. The decollement faulting is inferred to explain anomalous rock distribution and cannot be accurately dated. It occurred sometime after the Devonian and before the Jurassic. A late Paleozoic age is favored.

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USGS Numbered Series
Geology of the Deep Creek area, Washington, and its regional significance
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
xxiii, 435 leaves :ill., maps(some fold. in envelope) ;28 cm.