The upper Silurian(?) to Lower Devonian (Lochkovian) Clam Bank Formation is the most northerly exposed middle Paleozoic foreland-basin succession in the Appalachian orogen. Understanding of its sedimentary history is poor, and there are contradictory interpretations of placement of its lower structural boundary. Our study redefines the lithostratigraphy and subdivides the ∼600 m thick formation into three paleoenvironmental successions: a lower coastal plain setting with fluvial channels giving way upsection to coastal flats with carbonate, colluvium with reworked paleosol material, and aeolian (silt) deposits; a middle coastal zone succession following marine transgression and deposition of shoreface sandstone; and an upper alluvial succession host to pedogenic and groundwater calcretes. A basal disconformity, though not exposed, is inferred from lithic and geochemical evidence for sediment mixing with underlying Upper Ordovician sources in the lowermost part of the formation. This supports previous interpretations of Silurian uplift along the Laurentian margin in response to the Salinian orogeny. Sedimentary provenance indicates quartzo-feldspathic sources throughout the formation, and sediment-transport indicators identify a northeast–southwest-oriented basin with northwest-directed fluvial input. U–Pb detrital zircon distributions associated with the paleocolluvium and younger transgressive sandstone document upsection loss of prominent age peaks of late Grenville (∼0.98 Ga) and pre-Grenville (1.5, 1.65, and 1.75 Ga) sources. The coastal plain succession and related detrital-zircon signature imply a mixture of distal and proximal sediment sources, the latter related to erosion of a weathered upland and exhumed Precambrian inliers in western Newfoundland. A more regional provenance signature with marine transgression suggests sediment transport in response to Acadian orogenesis.
Initial development and sedimentary provenance of a middle Paleozoic foreland basin: Clam Bank Formation, western Newfoundland
George R. Dix, Geoff Pignotta, Shawna E. White; Initial development and sedimentary provenance of a middle Paleozoic foreland basin: Clam Bank Formation, western Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 2023;; 60 (11): 1573–1596. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2022-0092
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