Neoproterozoic strata of southeastern Idaho and Utah: record of Cryogenian rifting and glaciation
Published:January 01, 2011
Paul Karl Link, Nicholas Christie-Blick, 2011. "Neoproterozoic strata of southeastern Idaho and Utah: record of Cryogenian rifting and glaciation", The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations, Emmanuelle Arnaud, Galen P. Halverson, Graham Shields-Zhou
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Neoproterozoic strata in southeastern Idaho and Utah include the <766 Ma Uinta Mountain Group and Big Cottonwood Formation (Fm.) deposited in an east-trending rift basin and, to the west, the lower part of a westward-thickening rift to passive-margin succession that initiated c. 720 Ma. The latter contains a lower diamictite and volcanic succession, with a complex stratigraphic interval of Cryogenian marine glacial deposits (Pocatello and Mineral Fork formations and correlatives). This is overlain by a mostly terrigenous succession of <667 Ma strata assigned to the upper member of the Pocatello Fm. and Brigham Group in southeastern Idaho, to the Kelley Canyon Fm. and Brigham Group in northern and western Utah, and to the McCoy Creek Group and Prospect Mountain Quartzite in adjacent Nevada. Although the Brigham Group and correlative deposits contain no direct evidence for glaciation, widely developed, though stratigraphically restricted, incised valleys, with erosional relief from a few metres to as much as 160 m, are inferred to represent subsequent times of Cryogenian glacially lowered sea level. Overall interpretations of the stratigraphy and sedimentology of these rocks have changed little in the past 10–15 years. The most important recent advances relate to U–Pb geochronology. In strata that lie unconformably below demonstrable glacial deposits, the lower Uinta Mountain Group (formerly thought to be c. 900 Ma) contains populations of detrital zircons as young as 766±5 Ma. Cryogenian magmatism north of the Snake River Plain in central Idaho is recognized near House Mountain, east of Boise at c. 725±5 Ma, in the Pioneer Mountains Core Complex at about 695 Ma, and in central and east-central Idaho at 685–650 Ma. Clasts interpreted to be from the rift-related Bannock Volcanic Member of the Pocatello Fm. are dated at 717±4 Ma and 701±4 Ma. The overlying diamictite-bearing Scout Mountain Member contains a mafic lapilli tuff near the base (686±4 Ma) and a reworked fallout tuff near the top (667±5 Ma). Strongly negative C-isotope data have been obtained from some of the carbonate rocks, although the latter constitute only a small fraction of the succession. Palaeomagnetic data are available only for the Uinta Mountain Group, and suggest an equatorial palaeolatitude.
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The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations
In recent years, interest in Neoproterozoic glaciations has grown as their pivotal role in Earth system evolution has become increasingly clear. One of the main goals of the IGCP Project No. 512 was to produce a synthesis of newly available information on Neoproterozoic successions worldwide similar in format to Hambrey & Harland’s (1981) Earth’s pre-Pleistocene Glacial Record. This Memoir therefore consists of a series of overview chapters followed by site-specific chapters. The overview chapters cover key topics including the history of research on Neoproterozoic glaciations, identification of glacial deposits, chemostratigraphic techniques and datasets, palaeomagnetism, biostratigraphy, geochronology and climate modelling. The site specific chapters for 60 successions worldwide include reviews of the history of research on these rocks and up-to-date syntheses of the structural framework, tectonic setting, palaeomagnetic and geochronological constraints, physical, biological, and chemical stratigraphy, and descriptions of the glaciogenic and associated strata, including economic deposits.