New and previously published detrital zircon U-Pb ages from sediment in major rivers of south- central Alaska archive several major episodes of magmatism associated with the tectonic growth of this convergent margin. Analysis of detrital zircons from major trunk rivers of the Tanana, Matanuska-Susitna, and Copper River watersheds (N = 40, n = 4870) documents major <250 Ma age populations that are characteristic of the main phases of Mesozoic and Paleogene magmatism in the region as documented from limited U-Pb ages of igneous rocks. Key points from our detrital record include: (1) Major magmatic episodes occurred at 170, 150, 118, 95, 72, 58, and 36 Ma. The overall pattern of these ages suggests that felsic magmatism was episodic with periodicity ranging between ~14 and 32 m.y. with an average of ~22 m.y. (2) Magmatism in south-central Alaska shows similar age trends with both the Coast Mountains batholith and the along-strike Alaska Peninsula forearc basin strata, demonstrating a spatial and temporal relationship of felsic magmatism along the entire northern Cordilleran margin. (3) Topography and zircon fertility appear to influence the presence and/or absence of detrital zircon populations in individual watersheds. Results from this study indicate that regionally integrated detrital zircon populations from modern trunk rivers are faithful recorders of Mesozoic and Paleogene magmatic events along a convergent margin, but there appears to be a lag time for major rivers to record Neogene and ongoing magmatic events.
Detrital zircon geochronology of modern river sediment in south-central Alaska: Provenance, magmatic, and tectonic insights into the Mesozoic and Cenozoic development of the southern Alaska convergent margin
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Cooper R. Fasulo, Kenneth D. Ridgway; Detrital zircon geochronology of modern river sediment in south-central Alaska: Provenance, magmatic, and tectonic insights into the Mesozoic and Cenozoic development of the southern Alaska convergent margin. Geosphere 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02270.1
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