Evidence for Two Pulses of Glaciation during the Late Proterozoic in Northern Utah and Southeastern Idaho

Crittenden Jr., Max D.; Christie-Blick, Nicholas; Link, Paul Karl

A record of glaciation during late Proterozoic time is preserved in a number of localities extending from the Sheeprock Mountains, Utah, to Pocatello, Idaho, and from the Park City area 40 km east of Salt Lake City to the Deep Creek Range along the Utah-Nevada line. Over much of this area, the glacial deposits and associated rocks thicken westward and form the basal part of a miogeoclinal wedge that accumulated near the late Proterozoic and early Paleozoic continental margin. In the east, such deposits are thin and rest on Archean basement or rocks of Proterozoic Y age; in the west, they are part of thicker sequences in which deposition apparently continued without significant interruption from late Proterozoic into Cambrian time. In many places, the original continuity between the western and eastern parts of the depositional wedge has been obscured by thrusting of Cretaceous and early Tertiary age that carried the thick basinal sequences eastward over those deposited on the continental platform. Recent mapping of Fremont Island in Great Salt Lake, the Wasatch Range between Ogden and Brigham City, and the Sheeprock Mountains shows that glacial episodes represented either by diamictite or by dropstones enclosed in finegrained laminated beds are separated by as much as 1,000 m of non-glacial deposits, including black slate, alternating graywacke and siltstone, quartzite, and conglomerate. Using reasonable sedimentation rates for such deposits and by comparison with modern analogues, we infer that two episodes of glaciation, each probably consisting of multiple advances and retreats, were separated by a non-glacial interval of a few hundred thousand to a few million years' duration. Correlation of the allochthonous, miogeoclinal glacial deposits with the single glacial unit present in autochthonous and parautochthonous platform sites is uncertain, but our interpretation of sedimentary facies and paleogeography suggests that only the younger of the two episodes recorded in the allochthon is represented by the diamictites of the autochthon.

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The Geological Society of America Bulletin

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