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Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2004
U.S. Geological Survey
Professional Paper 1709-E

Micromorphologic Evidence for Paleosol Development in the Endicott Group, Siksikpuk Formation, Kingak(?) Shale, and Ipewik Formation, Western Brooks Range, Alaska

By Julie A. Dumoulin and Tim White


thumbnail of map showing Red Dog near the Chukchi Sea in western Alaska
Northwestern Alaska, showing locations of study area and massive sulfide deposits; inset shows plates of the Endicott Mountains allochthon in area of the Red Dog Mine.

Micromorphologic evidence indicates the presence of paleosols in drill-core samples from four sedimentary units in the Red Dog area, western Brooks Range. Well-developed sepic-plasmic fabrics and siderite spherules occur in claystones of the Upper Devonian through Lower Mississippian(?) Kanayut Conglomerate (Endicott Group), the Pennsylvanian through Permian Siksikpuk Formation (Etivluk Group), the Jurassic through Lower Cretaceous Kingak(?) Shale, and the Lower Cretaceous Ipewik Formation. Although exposure surfaces have been previously recognized in the Endicott Group and Kingak Shale on the basis of outcrop features, our study is the first microscopic analysis of paleosols from these units, and it provides the first evidence of subaerial exposure in the Siksikpuk and Ipewik Formations. Regional stratigraphic relations and geochemical data support our interpretations. Paleosols in the Siksikpuk, Kingak, and Ipewik Formations likely formed in nearshore coastal-plain environments, with pore waters subjected to inundation by the updip migration of slightly brackish ground water, whereas paleosols in the Kanayut Conglomerate probably formed in a more distal setting relative to a marine basin.

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For questions about the content of this report, contact Julie Dumoulin

Go to other chapters in this series: Haeussler, Peter J., and Galloway, John P., eds., 2005, Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2004: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1709.

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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: November 29, 2005
Last modified: May 2, 2006 (mfd)