Abstract

The Arctic Alaska terrane of northern Alaska and Yukon is one of several exotic terranes in the North American Cordillera with putative early Paleozoic connections to the northern Caledonian-Appalachian orogen. The U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar isotopic data from detrital minerals in pre-Mississippian sedimentary units of the northeastern Brooks Range are presented here to investigate the consequences of Caledonian orogenesis on sediment dispersal trends and the paleogeography of northern Laurentia. Neoproterozoic–Cambrian siliciclastic rocks of the informal Firth River group and the Neruokpuk Formation were most likely deposited along a passive margin that sourced Archean and Paleoproterozoic basement rocks of the Canadian shield and reworked Mesoproterozoic and younger sedimentary units. These strata are overlain by a Lower Ordovician–Lower Devonian succession of fine-grained siliciclastic turbidites, herein referred to as the Clarence River group, which records a prominent shift in provenance most likely associated with the onset of the Caledonian-Appalachian orogeny in northeast Laurentia. U-Pb detrital zircon age populations of ca. 470–420 and 990–820 Ma, along with 40Ar/39Ar detrital muscovite ages of ca. 470–430 Ma, support provenance connections with the East Greenland Caledonides, Pearya, and Svalbard. Partially reset 40Ar/39Ar ages in these sedimentary successions are linked to low-grade metamorphism associated with the Early–Middle Devonian Romanzof orogeny, a poorly understood tectonic event in the Brooks Range that is possibly associated with the emplacement of an allochthonous oceanic assemblage, herein named the Whale Mountain allochthon.

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