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Professional Paper 1799

Stratigraphy of Lower to Middle Paleozoic Rocks of Northern Nevada and the Antler Orogeny

By Keith B. Ketner

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (17.4 MB)Abstract

Commonly accepted concepts concerning the lower Paleozoic stratigraphy of northern Nevada are based on the assumption that the deep-water aspects of Ordovician to Devonian siliceous strata are due to their origin in a distant oceanic environment, and their presence where we find them is due to tectonic emplacement by the Roberts Mountains thrust. The concept adopted here is based on the assumption that their deep-water aspects are the result of sea-level rise in the Cambrian, and all of the Paleozoic strata in northern Nevada are indigenous to that area. The lower part of the Cambrian consists mainly of shallow-water cross-bedded sands derived from the craton. The upper part of the Cambrian, and part of the Ordovician, consists mainly of deep-water carbonate clastics carried by turbidity currents from the carbonate shelf in eastern Nevada, newly constructed as a result of sea-level rise. Ordovician to mid-Devonian strata are relatively deep-water siliceous deposits, which are the western facies assemblage. The basal contact of this assemblage on autochthonous Cambrian rocks is exposed in three mountain ranges and is clearly depositional in all three. The western facies assemblage can be divided into distinct stratigraphic units of regional extent. Many stratigraphic details can be explained simply by known changes in sea level. Upper Devonian to Mississippian strata are locally and westerly derived orogenic clastic beds deposited disconformably on the western facies assemblage. This disconformity, clearly exposed in 10 mountain ranges, indicates regional uplift and erosion of the western facies assemblage and absence of local deformation. The disconformity represents the Antler orogeny.

First posted August 26, 2013

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U.S. Geological Survey
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Suggested citation:

Ketner, K.B., 2013, Stratigraphy of lower to middle Paleozoic rocks of northern Nevada and the Antler orogeny: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1799, 23 p.,




Sea-Level Rise in the Early Paleozoic

The Stratigraphic Sequence

Middle Ordovician Bioherm of the Adobe Range

Antler Orogeny



References Cited

Appendix. Stratigraphic Columns of Figure 2

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