Stratigraphy, age, and provenance of the Eocene Chumstick basin, Washington Cascades; implications for paleogeography, regional tectonics, and development of strike-slip basins

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Bulletin of the Geological Society of America







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Strike-slip faults form in a wide variety of tectonic settings and are a first-order control on the geometry and sediment accumulation patterns in adjacent sedimentary basins. Although the structural and depositional architecture of strike-slip basins is well documented, few studies of strike-slip basins have integrated depositional age, lithofacies, and provenance control within this context. The Chumstick basin formed in central Washington during a regional phase of dextral, strike-slip faulting and episodic magmatism associated with Paleogene ridgetrench interaction along the North America margin. The basin is bounded and subdivided by major strike-slip faults that were active during deposition of the intra-basinal, non-marine Chumstick Formation. We build on the existing stratigraphy and present new, detailed lithofacies mapping, conglomerate clast counts (N = 16; n = 1429), and sandstone detrital zircon analyses (N = 16; n = 1360) from the Chumstick Formation to document changes in sediment provenance, routing, and deposition. These data allow us to reconstruct regional Eocene paleodrainage systems of Washington and Oregon and suggest that drainage within the Chumstick basin fed a regional river system that flowed to a forearc or marginal basin on the newly accreted Siletzia terrane. More generally, excellent age control from five interbedded tuffs and high sediment accumulation rates allow us to track the evolving sedimentary system over the Formation’s ca. 4–5 m.y. depositional history. This is the first time lithofacies and provenance varia tions can be constrained at high temporal resolution (0.5–1.5 m.y. scale) for an ancient strike-slip basin and permits a detailed reconstruction of sediment routing pathways and depositional environments. As a result, we can assess how varying sediment supply and accommodation space affects the depositional architecture during strike-slip basin evolution.

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National Science Foundation