Abstract

The Chiwaukum graben in central Washington contains two unconformity-bounded fluvial and lacustrine units, here named the “Chumstick” and “Wenatchee” Formations. The Chumstick is dated at 45 m.y. (middle Eocene), and the Wenatchee is dated at 34 m.y. (early Oligocene) by the fission-track method on zircons from tuffs. Previously, both formations were thought to be part of the Swauk Formation, which is older.

The Chumstick Formation rests on weathered crystalline basement and is several thousands of metres thick. Fanglomerate occurs at the base and along the margins. Most of the formation consists of feldspathic sandstone and pebbly sandstone of fluvial origin; but within the upper part, there is a lacustrine unit, herein designated the Nahahum Canyon Member. Tuff is common in the lower part of the formation. Both of the bounding faults, the Leavenworth and the Entiat, were active during deposition of the Chumstick Formation, but relief was greatest on the northeast (Entiat) side.

The Wenatchee Formation occurs in the vicinity of Wenatchee, Washington, and is ≤300 m thick. It unconformably overlies the Chumstick Formation within the graben but overlaps the northeast side of the graben, where it lies directly on weathered metamorphic basement. The Wenatchee Formation, like the Chumstick, was deposited primarily in fluvial and lacustrine environments; unlike the Chumstick, much of the sediment is mature quartz sandstone. Relief in the source area probably was very subdued during its deposition.

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