Abstract

Since the early 1900's, regional reconnaissance in Alaska and the Yukon has failed to resolve the stratigraphy and structure of the pre-Mississippian Neruokpuk Formation. Its age and distribution have been defined and redefined as new data have slowly accumulated. In most recently published reconnaissance maps of the Yukon, the "Neruokpuk" includes nearly all of the pre-Mississippian strata in the British Mountains and is assigned a Precambrian age. In contrast, approximately half of contiguous strata in adjacent Alaska are interpreted as early Paleozoic in age and are excluded from the Neruokpuk. Recent detailed studies in the Firth River area of the Yukon have documented intense small-scale imbrication of fossiliferous Lower Cambrian to Devonian(?) units that were previously mapped as Precambrian Neruokpuk.A remarkable similarity between the lithologies of lower Paleozoic rocks in the British Mountains and the Selwyn Basin 1000 km to the southeast is strengthened by biostratigraphic ties in Lower Cambrian, Lower Ordovician, and Lower Silurian strata. This correlation between basin facies suggests that shelf and slope facies of upper Proterozoic through lower Paleozoic strata may also be correlatable between the two areas. The paleogeographic implications of these correlations indicate that pre-Mississippian strata in Arctic Alaska and the Yukon are part of a single Arctic–Pacific continental margin.The Neruokpuk Formation name should be restricted in Canada to the quartzite-dominant unit, contiguous with similar strata to which the restricted Neruokpuk definition applies in Alaska. The current broad definition, based on an assumed Proterozoic age but including many rock types, should be discontinued.

You do not currently have access to this article.