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The Edwardsburg Formation and related rocks, Windermere Supergroup, central Idaho, USA

By
Karen Lund
Karen Lund
US Geological Survey, MS 973, Federal Center Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225, USA
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John N. Aleinikoff
John N. Aleinikoff
US Geological Survey, MS 964, Federal Center Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225, USA
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Karl V. Evans
Karl V. Evans
US Geological Survey, MS 973, Federal Center Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2011

Abstract

In central Idaho, Neoproterozoic stratified rocks are engulfed by the Late Cretaceous Idaho batholith and by Eocene volcanic and plutonic rocks of the Challis event. Studied sections in the Gospel Peaks and Big Creek areas of west-central Idaho are in roof pendants of the Idaho batholith. A drill core section studied from near Challis, east-central Idaho, lies beneath the Challis Volcanic Group and is not exposed at the surface. Metamorphic and deformational overprinting, as well as widespread dismembering by the younger igneous rocks, conceals many primary details. Despite this, these rocks provide important links for regional correlations and have produced critical geochronological data for two Neoproterozoic glacial periods in the North American Cordillera.

At the base of the section, the more than 700-m-thick Edwardsburg Formation (Fm.) contains interlayered diamictite and volcanic rocks. There are two diamictite-bearing members in the Edwardsburg Fm. that are closely related in time. Each of the diamictites is associated with intermediate composition tuff or flow rocks and the diamictites are separated by mafic volcanic rocks. SHRIMP U–Pb dating indicates that the lower diamictite is about 685±7 Ma, whereas the upper diamictite is 684±4 Ma. The diamictite units are part of a cycle of rocks from coarse clastic, to fine clastic, to carbonate rocks that, by correlation to better preserved sections, are thought to record an older Cryogenian glacial to interglacial period in the northern US Cordillera.

The more than 75-m-thick diamictite of Daugherty Gulch is dated at 664±6 Ma. This unit is preserved only in drill core and the palaeoenvironmental interpretation and local stratigraphic relations are non-unique. Thus, the date for this diamictite may provide a date for a newly recognized glaciogenic horizon or may be a minimum age for the diamictite in the Edwardsburg Fm.

The c. 1000-m-thick Moores Lake Fm. is an amphibolite facies diamictite in which glacial features have not been observed. However, it is part of a sedimentary cycle from unsorted siliclastic deposits to mud and carbonate deposits. Using lithostratigraphy and available geochronology, the Moores Lake Fm. is correlated with a younger succession of Cryogenian glaciogenic rocks in southeastern Idaho.

Traditional correlations of Neoproterozoic rocks in the Cordillera recognize two levels of Cryogenian diamictites. The Edwardsburg and Moores Lake diamictites along the middle Cordillera fit well into the scenario of two glacial events. Because of the correlations, dates that provide ages for the diamictites in central Idaho (and corroborated in southeastern Idaho, Link & Fanning 2008) could constrain the age of correlated glaciogenic deposits elsewhere in the Cordillera. However, in the absence of dates for the glaciogenic diamictites in Canadian and southern US Cordilleran sections, the correlations are considered possible but uncertain.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Memoirs

The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations

Emmanuelle Arnaud
Emmanuelle Arnaud
University of Guelph, Canada
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Galen P. Halverson
Galen P. Halverson
McGill University, Canada
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Graham Shields-Zhou
Graham Shields-Zhou
University College London, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
36
ISBN electronic:
9781862394117
Publication date:
January 01, 2011

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