Skip to Main Content

Subsurface sandstone samples of the Upper Jurassic (Oxfordian) Norphlet Formation erg deposits and (Kimmeridgian) Haynesville Formation sabkha deposits were collected from wells in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for U-Pb detrital zircon provenance analysis. Norphlet Formation samples in southwestern Alabama are characterized by detrital zircon ages forming two dominant populations: (1) 265–480 Ma, associated with Paleozoic Taconic, Acadian, and Alleghanian orogenic events of eastern Laurentia, and (2) 950–1250 Ma, associated with the Grenville orogenies of eastern Laurentia. These detrital zircon ages indicate derivation from Laurentian and Laurentian-affinity sources, including erosion of Paleozoic strata of the remnant Alleghanian fold-and-thrust belt and Black Warrior foreland basin, as well as Laurentian cratonic rocks exposed in remnant Appalachian orogenic highlands and eastern Gulf of Mexico rift-related horst blocks. In contrast, Norphlet Formation samples from the offshore Destin Dome exhibit a major population of 540–650 Ma zircon grains, along with a small population of 1900–2200 Ma zircon grains; these ages are interpreted to indicate contribution of sediment to the Norphlet erg from peri-Gondwanan terranes sutured to eastern Laurentian, as well as from the Gondwanan Suwannee terrane, which remained attached to North America after the rifting of Pangea. Samples from south-central Alabama yield subequal proportions of four major age populations: 250–500 Ma, 520–650 Ma, 900–1400 Ma, and 1950–2250 Ma. These ages indicate sediment was sourced by both Laurentian/Laurentian-affinity and Gondwanan/Gondwanan-affinity rocks, either through a combination of these rocks in the source area, or intrabasinal mixing of Laurentian/Laurentian-affinity sediment with Gondwanan/Gondwanan-affinity sediment. Detrital zircon provenance data from the overlying Haynesville Formation clastics of the Destin Dome offshore federal lease block also show the signature of Gondwanan/Gondwanan-affinity sediment input into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, suggesting that paleotopography affecting Norphlet Formation deposition persisted throughout much of the Late Jurassic. However, samples from the Pennsylvanian Pottsville Formation synorogenic fill of the Black Warrior Basin and Middle Cretaceous Rodessa Formation marginal marine sandstone lack evidence for any significant contribution of Gondwanan or Gondwanan-affinity detritus to the basin, indicating that transport of Gondwanan/Gondwanan-affinity zircon to the eastern Gulf of Mexico was due to early Mesozoic uplift, erosion, and/or paleodrainage pattern development. These results, along with previously reported detrital zircon provenance of Triassic and Jurassic sandstone of the southern United States, suggest that early Mesozoic sediment supply in southern North America was closely associated with erosion of Gondwanan/peri-Gondwanan crust docked along the Suwannee-Wiggins suture, which likely extended westward from the Suwannee terrane to the Yucatan-Campeche terrane; much of this Gondwanan/peri-Gondwanan crust remained docked along the Suwannee-Wiggins suture after the rifting of Pangea and prior to opening of the Gulf of Mexico.

You do not currently have access to this chapter.

Figures & Tables

Contents

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal