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Proterozoic geochronological links between the Farewell, Kilbuck, and Arctic Alaska terranes

June 17, 2014

New U-Pb igneous and detrital zircon ages reveal that despite being separated by younger orogens, three of Alaska’s terranes that contain Precambrian rocks—Farewell, Kilbuck, and Arctic Alaska—are related. The Farewell and Kilbuck terranes can be linked by felsic magmatism at ca. 850 Ma and by abundant detrital zircons in the Farewell that overlap the ca. 2010–2085 Ma age range of granitoids in the Kilbuck. The Farewell and Arctic Alaska terranes have already been linked via correlative Neoproterozoic to Devonian carbonate platform deposits that share nearly identical faunas of mixed Siberian and Laurentian affinity. New igneous ages strengthen these ties. Specifically, 988, 979, and 979 Ma metafelsites in the Farewell terrane are close in age to a 971 Ma granitic orthogneiss in the Arctic Alaska terrane. Likewise, 852, 850, 845, and 837 Ma granitic orthogneisses, metafelsite, and rhyolite in the Farewell terrane are similar to the reported 874 to 848 Ma age range of metarhyolites in the Arctic Alaska terrane. The Kilbuck and Arctic Alaska terranes have been previously linked on the basis of provenance: detrital zircons from the Carboniferous Nuka Formation in the Arctic Alaska terrane range from 2013 to 2078 Ma, overlapping the age of Kilbuck granitoids. A new 849 Ma age of a Kilbuck granitoid strengthens the proposed connection. Among the other new results from Kilbuck terrane is a 2085 Ma zircon from a granitoid that now stands as the oldest tightly dated rock in Alaska. We conclude that the Kilbuck, Farewell, and Arctic Alaska terranes were not independent entities with unique geologic histories but instead are related pieces of the circum-Arctic tectonic puzzle.

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