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Detrital zircon provenance of the eastern Gulf of Mexico subsurface: Constraints on Late Jurassic paleogeography and sediment dispersal of North America

By
Amy L. Weislogel
Amy L. Weislogel
Department of Geology & Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506, USA
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Bryan Hunt
Bryan Hunt
SandRidge Energy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102, USA
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Andrea Lisi
Andrea Lisi
Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Houston, Texas 77002, USA
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Thomas Lovell
Thomas Lovell
Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Houston, Texas 77002, USA
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Delores M. Robinson
Delores M. Robinson
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401, USA
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Published:
December 01, 2015
Gold Open Access: This chapter is published under the terms of the CC-BY license and is available open access on www.gsapubs.org.

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.

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GSA Special Papers

Late Jurassic Margin of Laurasia–A Record of Faulting Accommodating Plate Rotation

Thomas H. Anderson
Thomas H. Anderson
Department of Geology and Environmental Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA
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Alexei N. Didenko
Alexei N. Didenko
Institute of Tectonics and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch Russian Academy of Sciences, Khabarovsk 680000, Russia, and Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow 119017, Russia
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Cari L. Johnson
Cari L. Johnson
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA
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Alexander I. Khanchuk
Alexander I. Khanchuk
Far East Geological Institute, Far Eastern Branch Russian Academy of Sciences, 159, Prospekt 100-letiya Vladivostoku, Vladivostok 690022, Russia
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James H. MacDonald, Jr.
James H. MacDonald, Jr.
Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida 33965, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
513
ISBN print:
9780813725130
Publication date:
December 01, 2015

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