The Shublik Formation (Middle and Upper Triassic) is a mixed siliciclastic-carbonate-phosphatic unit in northern Alaska. It generated oil found in Prudhoe Bay and other accumulations and is a prospective self-sourced resource play on Alaska’s North Slope. Its distal, deeper-water equivalent—the Otuk Formation—consists largely of radiolarian chert, mudstone, and limestone and contains potential gas accumulations in the Brooks Range foothills to the south. New petrographic, fossil, geochemical, spectral gamma-ray, and zircon U-Pb data yield insights into facies changes in these units, which were deposited across a shallowly dipping shelf margin in a high-latitude setting. Samples come from four localities along a transect that extends ~410 km from present-day northeast (proximal) to southwest (distal) in northwest Alaska. Proximal Shublik facies (Brontosaurus 1 well) contain abundant siliciclastic detritus and local phosphate. Shublik-Otuk transitional facies occur in the probable onshore extension of the Hanna Trough (Surprise Creek); new zircon U-Pb data indicate an early Norian age for a bentonite bed in this section. Distal Otuk facies (Red Dog district, Cape Lisburne) are fine grained, biosiliceous, and organic rich. New detrital zircon U-Pb data from a distinctive sandstone member in the Otuk Formation at Cape Lisburne reinforce previous interpretations of a provenance to the present-day northwest and indicate a protracted history of Triassic magmatism for this source area. Triassic facies patterns in northwestern Alaska were shaped by sea-level change, climate, and regional tectonism. Organic-rich facies developed best at times (Ladinian–middle Norian) and/or in settings (distal shelf, Hanna Trough) with minimal dilution of organic matter by other detritus.
|Title||Biosiliceous, organic-rich, and phosphatic facies of Triassic strata of northwest Alaska: Transect across a high-latitude, low-angle continental margin|
|Authors||Julie A. Dumoulin, Katherine J. Whidden, William A. Rouse, Richard O. Lease, Adam Boehlke, Paul O'Sullivan|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals; Central Energy Resources Science Center|