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Reconnaissance geologic map of the Kuskokwim Bay region, southwest Alaska

July 24, 2013

The rocks of the map area range from Proterozoic age metamorphic rocks of the Kanektok metamorphic complex (Kilbuck terrane) to Quaternary age mafic volcanic rocks of Nunivak Island. The map area encompasses much of the type area of the Togiak-Tikchik Complex. The geologic maps used to construct this compilation were, for the most part, reconnaissance studies done in the time period from the 1950s to 1990s. Pioneering work in the map area by J.M. Hoare and W.L. Coonrad forms the basis for much of this map, either directly or as the stepping off point for later studies compiled here.

Physiographically, the map area ranges from glaciated mountains, as much as 1,500 m high, in the Ahklun Mountains to the coastal lowlands of northern Bristol Bay and the Kuskokwim River delta. The mountains and the finger lakes (drowned fiords) on the east have been strongly affected by Pleistocene and Holocene glaciation.

Within the map area are a number of major faults. The Togiak-Tikchik Fault and its extension to the northeast, the Holitna Fault, are considered extensions of the Denali fault system of central Alaska. Other sub-parallel faults include the Golden Gate, Sawpit, Goodnews, and East Kulukak Faults. Northwest-trending strike-slip faults crosscut and offset northeast-trending fault systems.

Rocks of the area are assigned to a number of distinctive lithologic packages. Most distinctive among these packages are the high-grade metamorphic rocks of the Kanektok metamorphic complex or Kilbuck terrane, composed of a high-grade metamorphic orthogneiss core surrounded by greenschist and amphibolite facies schist, gneiss, and rare marble and quartzite. These rocks have yielded radiometric ages strongly suggestive of a 2.05 Ga emplacement age. Poorly known Paleozoic rocks, including Ordovician to Devonian and Permian limestone, are found east of the Kanektok metamorphic complex. A Triassic(?) ophiolite complex is on the southeast side of Kuskokwim Bay; otherwise only minor Triassic rock units are known. The most widespread rocks of the area are Jurassic and Early Cretaceous(?) volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks. The Kuskokwim Group flysch is restricted largely to the northeast part of the map area. It consists primarily of shelf and minor nearshore facies rocks. Primarily exposed in the lowlands west of the Ahklun Mountains, extensive latest Tertiary and Quaternary alkalic basalt flows and lesser pyroclastic rocks form much of the bedrock of the remaining area. On Saint Matthew Island, Cretaceous volcanic and pyroclastic rocks occur that are not found elsewhere within the map area. The Kuskokwim Group and older rocks, including on Saint Matthew Island, but not the Kanektok metamorphic complex, are intruded by widely dispersed Late Cretaceous and (or) Early Tertiary granitic rocks. Much of the lowland area is mantled by unconsolidated deposits that include glacial, alluvial and fluvial, marine, estuarine, and eolian deposits. These formed during several episodes of Quaternary glaciation.

Publication Year 2013
Title Reconnaissance geologic map of the Kuskokwim Bay region, southwest Alaska
DOI 10.3133/sim3100
Authors Frederic H. Wilson, Chad P. Hults, Solmaz Mohadjer, Warren L. Coonrad
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Map
Series Number 3100
Index ID sim3100
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center