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Petrology of the Plutonic Rocks of west-central Alaska

January 1, 1970

A series of plutons in west-central Alaska defines the Hogatza plutonic belt which extends for about 200 miles in an east-west direction from the northeastern Seward Peninsula to the Koyukuk River. The plutonic rocks have an aggregate area of about 1,200 square miles and their composition, distribution, and possible petrogenesis are discussed for the first time in this report.

Field, petrographic and chemical data supported by K/Ar age dating indicate the plutonic rocks are divisible into two suites differing in age, location, and composition. The western plutons are mid-Cretaceous (~100 m.y.) in age and consist of a heterogeneous assemblage of monzonite, syenite, quartz monzonite. Associated with these granitic rocks is a group of alkaline sub-silicic rocks that forma belt of intrusive complexes extending for a distance of at least 180 miles from west-central Alaska to the Bering Sea. The complex at Granite Mountain shows a rare example of zoning from an alkaline rim to a quartz-bearing core. The occurrence of a similar complex at Cape Dezhnev on the easternmost tip of Siberia suggests the alkaline province may extend into Siberia. The easternmost plutons are Late Cretaceous (180 m.y.) in age and composed primarily of granodiorite and quartz monzonite similar to calc-alkaline plutons found throughout the North America Cordillera.

The plutons are epizonal and intrude deformed but unmetamorphosed Lower Cretaceous andesitic volcanics and volcanic graywacke which constitute the highly mobile Yukon-Koyukuk volcanogenic province of west-central Alaska. No older rocks have been found within the confines of this vast tract; the occurrence of a bounding ophiolite sequence has lead to the suggestion that the province was formed by large-scale rifting and is underlain by oceanic crust.

The possibility of no juvenile sialic crust over much of the area suggests that the potassium-rich magma now represented by the alkaline rocks originated in the mantle. The distribution of the alkaline rocks appears to be related to regional structural features, particularly the boundary between the Mesozoic volcanogenic province of west-central Alaska and the thrust-faulted province of metamorphic-plutonic and sedimentary rocks of Paleozoic and Precambrian age that forms the eastern Seward Peninsula. This boundary may have been a zone of structural weakness along which alkaline magma was generated. Modal and chemical trends suggest that the potassium-rich magma influenced the composition of more granitic magmas forming at higher levels. The latter may have been forming as a result of anatexis of andesite and mixing of mantle-derived mafic magma. The result is the heterogeneous assemblage of generally potassium-rich plutonic rocks that forms the west end of the Hogataza plutonic belt.

The loci of magmatism in west-central Alaska shifted east in Late Cretaceous time and the eastern plutons show only local signs of potassium enrichment. They are compositionally homogeneous and differences within plutons appear due to local contamination.

Publication Year 1970
Title Petrology of the Plutonic Rocks of west-central Alaska
DOI 10.3133/ofr71210
Authors Thomas P. Miller
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 71-210
Index ID ofr71210
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse