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Abstract

The late Neoproterozoic Kingston Peak Formation (Fm.) is a several-kilometre-thick sedimentary succession primarily influenced by syndepositional tectonism and located in the region around Death Valley, California (Fig. 40.1). Its distribution is divisible into an eastern facies assemblage, the subject of this paper, and a western facies assemblage covered in a separate chapter. The diamictite-bearing Kingston Peak Fm. is bounded by the underlying shallow platform carbonates of the Beck Spring Fm. and overlain by the Noonday Dolomite. There is an absence of direct palaeolatitude or radiometric age constraints and any correlation is based on broad similarities with other coarse-grained strata (diamictite) located in a northward trending belt along the Cordilleran miogeocline. The overlying Noonday Dolomite has been interpreted to be a late Cryogenian ‘cap carbonate’ and shares a set of unique facies associations and isotopic and lithological characteristics with other late Neoproterozoic post-glacial carbonate intervals in Namibia, Canada, Australia and Brazil. Research to date has focused on understanding local basin evolution, glacial sedimentology, correlation between the eastern and western facies assemblages and initiation and development of the North American Cordillera. The intimate association of tectonic and glacial facies with rapid local thickness and facies changes corresponding with syn-sedimentary faulting is the most distinctive stratigraphic characteristic of the Kingston Peak Fm. The complex local stratigraphy complicates correlation both within the Death Valley region as well as globally, and pending absolute age dates, does not fit easily with conventional Cryogenian Period glacial models identifying two or more discrete ice ages.

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