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The Nome Complex is a large metamorphic unit that sits along the southern boundary of the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane, the largest of several microcontinental fragments of uncertain origin located between the Siberian and Laurentian cratons. The Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane moved into its present position during the Mesozoic; its Mesozoic and older movements are central to reconstruction of Arctic tectonic history. Accurate representation of the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane in reconstructions of Late Proterozoic and early Paleozoic paleogeography is hampered by the paucity of information available. Most of the Late Proterozoic to Paleozoic rocks in the Alaska–Chukotka terrane were penetratively deformed and recrystallized during the Mesozoic deformational events; primary features and relationships have been obliterated, and age control is sparse.

We use a variety of geochemical, geochronologic, paleontologic, and geologic tools to read through penetrative deformation and reconstruct the protolith sequence of part of the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka terrane, the Nome Complex. We confirm that the protoliths of the Nome Complex were part of the same Late Proterozoic to Devonian continental margin as weakly deformed rocks in the southern and central part of the terrane, the Brooks Range. We show that the protoliths of the Nome Complex represent a carbonate platform (and related rocks) that underwent incipient rifting, probably during the Ordovician, and that the carbonate platform was overrun by an influx of siliciclastic detritus during the Devonian. During early phases of the transition to siliciclastic deposition, restricted basins formed that were the site of sedimentary exhalative base-metal sulfide deposition. Finally, we propose that most of the basement on which the largely Paleozoic sedimentary protolith was deposited was subducted during the Mesozoic.

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