Geology of Seward Peninsula and Saint Lawrence Island
Published:January 01, 1994
Seward Peninsula (Fig. 1) may be divided into two geologic terranes (Fig. 2) on the basis of stratigraphy, structure, and metamorphic history. The Seward terrane, an area 150 by 150 km in the central and eastern peninsula, is dominated by Precambrian(?) and early Paleozoic blueschist-, greenschist-, and amphibolitefacies schist and marble, and intruded by three suites of granitic rocks. The York terrane, roughly 100 by 75 km, occupies western Seward Peninsula and the Bering Straits region; it is composed of Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, and possibly older limestone, argillaceous limestone, dolostone, and phyllite, which are cut by a suite of Late Cretaceous tin-bearing granites. The boundary between the Seward and York terranes is poorly exposed but is thought to be a major thrust fault because of its sinuous map trace, a discontinuity in metamorphic grade, and differences in stratigraphy across the boundary (Travis Hudson, oral communication, 1984). The boundary between the Seward terrane and the Yukon-Koyukuk province to the east is complicated by vertical faults (the Kugruk fault zone of Sainsbury, 1974) and obscured by Cretaceous and Tertiary cover.
The Seward Peninsula heretofore was thought to consist largely of rocks of Precambrian age (Sainsbury, 1972, 1974, 1975; Hudson, 1977). Microfossil data, however, indicate that many of the rocks considered to be Precambrian are early Paleozoic in age (Till and others, 1986; Dumoulin and Harris, 1984; Dumoulin and Till, 1985; Till and others, 1983; Vandervoort, 1985). It is likely that Precambrian rocks are a minor part of the stratigraphy of the Seward Peninsula.
Figures & Tables
The Geology of Alaska
You get a comprehensive overview of the geology, tectonic evolution, and mineral resources of Alaska and adjacent areas of the continental margin. Plates include state-wide maps showing geology, physiography, lithotectonic terranes, metamorphic rocks, igneous rocks, sedimentary basins, isotopic age data, neotectonics, isostatic gravity, magnetics, and metallic mineral deposits. Summaries of bedrock geology and geologic history are given for eleven large regions of Alaska and adjacent offshore areas. Twenty topical chapters synthesize data on metamorphic and igneous rocks; major onshore and offshore sedimentary basins; the paleomagnetics evidence for latitudinal displacements and rotations, glacial history and periglacial phenomena; and the occurrence, evolution, and potential of Alaska's vast resources of petroleum, coal, and metallic minerals. A summary chapter provides an overview and presents a possible model for Alaska's Phanerozoic evolution. The Geology of Alaska is the largest publication produced in the Decade of North American Geology program, a fitting tribute to this magnificent area.