Neogene sedimentary record of the evolution of a translated strike-slip basin along the Denali fault system: Implications for timing of displacement, composite basin development, and regional tectonics of southern Alaska

Wai K. Allen, Kenneth D. Ridgway, J. A. Benowitz, T. S. Waldien, S. M. Roeske, P. G. Fitzgerald, R. J. Gillis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Analysis of the late Miocene to Holocene McCallum sedimentary basin, located along the south side of the eastern Denali fault system, provides a better understanding of strike-slip basin evolution, timing of displacement on the Denali fault, and tectonics of the southern Alaska convergent margin. Analysis of the McCallum basin utilizing measured stratigraphic sections, lithofacies analyses, and 40Ar/39Ar tephra ages documented a 564-m-thick, two-member stratigraphy. Fine-grained, lacustrine-dominated environments characterized deposition of the lower member, and coarse-grained, stream-dominated alluvial-fan environments characterized deposition of the upper member. The 40Ar/39Ar dating of tephras indicated that the lower member was deposited from 6.1 to 5.0 Ma, and the upper member was deposited from 5.0 to 3.8 Ma. Our stratigraphic analysis of the McCallum basin illuminates the development of a composite strike-slip basin, with the deposition of the lower member occurring along a transtensional fault section, and deposition of the upper member occurring along a transpressional fault section. This change in depositional and tectonic settings is interpreted to reflect ~79-90 km of transport of the basin along the Denali fault system based on Pleistocene-Holocene slip rates. Previous studies of the timing of Cenozoic displacement on the Denali fault system utilizing sedimentary records emphasized a Paleogene component; our findings, however, also require a significant Neogene component. Neogene strike-slip displacement and basin development along the Denali fault system were broadly coeval with development of high topography and related clastic wedges across southern Alaska in response to flat slab subduction of the Yakutat microplate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-615
Number of pages31
JournalGeosphere
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy

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