Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Geology and Geography
Kenneth L Brown
Helen M Lang
The Doonerak fenster of the central Brooks Range contains the Apoon assemblage, a suite of Early Paleozoic mafic-to-intermediate volcanic and siliciclastic rocks. The fenster exposes deep structural levels of the Brooks Range between regions of Laurentian and non-Laurentian origin in Arctic Alaska. During the Mesozoic to Cenozoic formation of the Brooks Range, Upper Devonian to Triassic siliciclastic and carbonate rocks of the Endicott Mountains allochthon were thrusted northward and juxtaposed over the top of this volcanic suite.;New geochemical data indicates that the Apoon assemblage formed as part of an island arc complex. The assemblage contains basaltic-to-andesitic rocks with diverse textures, including pillow basalts and cross-cutting dikes and sills. Enrichment in large ion lithophile elements (e.g. Cs, Rb, Ba, Th), depletion in high field strength elements (e.g. Nb, P, Zr, Ti), and chondrite-normalized rare-earth element (REE) trends within the Apoon volcanics are consistent with formation in an island arc setting and corroborate previous work.;Detrital zircon spectra from volcaniclastic portions of the Apoon assemblage show a prominent unimodal 440--530 Ma population centered on 504 Ma with only minor populations potentially derived from Laurentia. The siliciclastic units unconformably overlying the Apoon assemblage (Ellesmerian sequence) and those of the Endicott Mountains allochthon mostly lack detritus from this 504 Ma population and are instead dominated by 400--440 Ma populations centered on ~420 Ma. While this is dissimilar from the Apoon assemblage, detritus of this age is common in rocks of the Canadian Arctic, Svalbard, and eastern Greenland and is associated with the Caledonian orogeny.;The coexistence of Caledonian detritus alongside 800--550 Ma populations within samples from the northern margin of the fenster also indicates a connection to the Timanian orogen of northern Baltica. The youngest portions of the Apoon assemblage also show significant Laurentian and Caledonian age detritus. This shift in provenance could be explained by the closure of an oceanic basin, providing newly integrated sediment pathways. Collectively, evidence presented here indicates that the Apoon assemblage formed as part of an island arc, which initially formed in a relatively isolated geographic position and received detritus from mostly proximal sources (single unimodal 504 Ma population). This arc progressively approached and eventually docked onto the margin of northwest Laurentian during closure of the northernmost Iapetus Ocean, eventually amalgamating regions of Laurentian and non-Laurentian origin. Thus, the Doonerak fenster preserves an island arc complex and marks the location of a Paleozoic suture between Laurentian and non-Laurentian portions of Arctic Alaska.
Frier, William Patrick, "Insights into the Assembly of Arctic Alaska: Provenance and Geochemical Data from the Doonerak Fenster and Endicott Mountains Allochthon" (2017). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 5625.