Abstract

The Uyak Complex is a chaotic assemblage of gray chert and argillite, wacke, greenstone, radiolarian chert, and gabbroic and ultramafic rocks. The simplest interpretation of these rocks is that the gabbroic and ultramafic rocks and greenstone represent basal oceanic crust upon which the radiolarian chert, gray chert and argillite, and wacke were deposited, respectively, at a mid-ocean rise, on the abyssal ocean floor, and in an oceanic trench. Fossils are scarce in the complex and range in age from mid-Permian to mid–Early Cretaceous. The Uyak Complex was emplaced by underthrusting to the northwest beneath lower Mesozoic metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks. During underthrusting, brittle rock types were broken into phacoids of all sizes and suspended in the less competent matrix of gray chert and argillite with their longest dimensions aligned subparallel to cataclastic foliation. Prehnite and pumpellyite developed extensively in lithologies of suitable composition.

The Uyak Complex correlates to the northeast with a similar assemblage of deep-sea rocks on the Barren Islands and with the McHugh Complex on the Kenai Peninsula and near Anchorage. The Uyak-McHugh belt defines a probable subduction complex trending northeast for at least 600 km along the margin of southwestern Alaska. The time of emplacement of this mélange is uncertain, but fossils present indicate that it occurred after mid–Early Cretaceous time. To the southeast, the Uyak is underthrust by deformed turbidites of the Kodiak Formation, which are interpreted to have been deposited in an oceanic trench and accreted to the Alaskan margin in Late Cretaceous time. The relationship between the Uyak Complex and Kodiak Formation is uncertain, but they may represent two phases, or two facies, of Late Cretaceous accretion.

Two large bodies of schist, referred to as the Kodiak Islands schist terrane, occur along the northwest border of the Uyak. The Kodiak Islands schist terrane is a blueschist-bearing metamorphic belt that has yielded mainly Early Jurassic K-Ar mineral ages. Similarities in K-Ar ages, metamorphism, and tectonic setting support a correlation between the Kodiak Islands schists and the Seldovia schist terrane on southern Kenai Peninsula. The Upper Triassic Shuyak Formation structurally overlies the Kodiak Islands schist terrane and Uyak Complex but is separated from them by a long, narrow pluton emplaced in Early Jurassic time. The Shuyak is a little-deformed formation of volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks. It correlates with similar rocks on the Alaska and Kenai Peninsulas, which together outline a lower Mesozoic forearc basin; K-Ar ages show that much of the Alaska-Aleutian Range batholith was intruded coeval with deposition in this forearc basin. A likely interpretation of these rocks is that the Kodiak-Seldovia schists are the only vestige of a subduction complex emplaced along the margin of southwestern Alaska during the prominent early Mesozoic volcanoplutonic activity recorded on the Alaska and Kenai Peninsulas and the Kodiak Islands.

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