Sequence Stratigraphy and Detrital Zircon Provenance of the Eureka Quartzite in South-Central Nevada and Eastern California
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The Middle-Late Ordovician Eureka Quartzite in south-central Nevada and eastern California is a supermature quartz arenite that was deposited along the Lower Paleozoic western passive margin of Laurentia. Measured section descriptions and facies stacking patterns indicate that the Eureka Quartzite represents a 3rd-order sequence and contains three ~2-4 m.y. sequences and many small parasequences. Detrital zircon analysis of eight samples from the base and top of four locations contains three main populations of ~1.8-2.0 Ga, ~2.6-2.8 Ga, and ~2.0-2.3 Ga, and a smaller infrequent population of ~1.6-1.8 Ga grains. These peaks are interpreted to represent sediment sourced from exposed proximal basement to the east, likely from the Yavapai and Mazatzal Provinces (~1.6-1.7 Ga), the Trans-Hudson Orogen (~1.8-1.9 Ga), Paleoproterozoic crusts (~2.0-2.3 Ga), and underlying or proximal Archean (~2.6-2.8 Ga) sources. Sediment likely was transported to the shoreline and across Archean basement by rivers draining the Transcontinental Arch. Long-shore currents played an important role in deposition and likely account for the similarity of Middle-Late Ordovician, supermature, quartz arenite deposits on western Laurentia. Although the Peace River Arch likely provided some sediment for the Eureka Quartzite, it is apparent its provenance was mostly Trans-Hudson Orogen and Archean basement. Temporal and spatial provenance changes are inferred from probability-density plots of the detrital zircon analyses to indicate sea-level changes covered or exposed possible sediment sources during deposition.
Workman, Benjamin David (2012). Sequence Stratigraphy and Detrital Zircon Provenance of the Eureka Quartzite in South-Central Nevada and Eastern California. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from