Detrital Zircon Geochronology of Middle Ordovician Siliciclastic Sediment on the Southern Laurentian Shelf
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Middle Ordovician (Whiterockian) sandstone units within the Oil Creek, McLish, and Tulip Creek formations of the Simpson Group of Oklahoma, and the Everton (Calico Rock Member) and St. Peter formations of Arkansas were deposited on the southern margin of Laurentia. They represent the first major siliciclastic input to the southern U.S. Midcontinent above the post-Sauk unconformity. Samples were collected from outcrops of the major sandstone units to determine their U-Pb detrital zircon age distributions for provenance. Samples were prepared and analyzed using laser ablation - inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Probability-density plots were created to determine likely source areas for sediment, based on comparing detrital zircon ages to known ages of basement terranes. Detrital zircon grains from the Early Whiterockian Calico Rock sandstone indicate a majority of its zircon population was ultimately derived from the 900-1300 Ma Grenville orogenic province, with secondary input ultimately derived from the 1300-1550 Ma Granite-Rhyolite/Anorogenic Province and the Archean Superior province along the Transcontinental Arch. It is likely, at this time, that zircons were also sourced from reworked sediments from more proximal secondary sources. With sea level rise and transgression, the depositional shoreline and the sediment source areas moved to the north and west. The basal Oil Creek Sandstone of the Simpson Group was deposited unconformably above the Arbuckle Group in southern Oklahoma, and its zircon population is dominated by grains from Archean source terranes along the Transcontinental Arch. The basal sandstone unit of the McLish Formation indicates renewed sediment input containing zircons from 1300-1550 Ma Granite-Rhyolite/Anorogenic and 1600-1700 Ma Yavapai-Mazatzal terranes along the Transcontinental Arch. The Nemaha Ridge in northeastern Kansas likely acted as a source of first-cycle sediment in the southern midcontinent during this time. Small populations of detrital zircon grains between 1800 Ma and 2000 Ma occur in the majority of the samples. Their probability density peaks are generally centered at roughly 1850 Ma, suggesting an ultimate source in the Penokean orogenic province along the Transcontinental Arch.
St. Peter Formation
Pickell, Michael (2012). Detrital Zircon Geochronology of Middle Ordovician Siliciclastic Sediment on the Southern Laurentian Shelf. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from