The Edwardsburg Formation and related rocks, Windermere Supergroup, central Idaho, USA
Published:January 01, 2011
Karen Lund, John N. Aleinikoff, Karl V. Evans, 2011. "The Edwardsburg Formation and related rocks, Windermere Supergroup, central Idaho, USA", The Geological Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations, Emmanuelle Arnaud, Galen P. Halverson, Graham Shields-Zhou
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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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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.