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«by Majie Fan _ A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of ...»

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GEOCHEMISTRY AND BASIN ANALYSIS OF LARAMIDE ROCKY

MOUNTAIN BASINS

by

Majie Fan

_____________________

A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the

DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements

For the Degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

In the Graduate College

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

GRADUATE COLLEGE

As members of the Dissertation Committee, we certify that we have read the dissertation prepared by Majie Fan entitled Geochemistry and basin analysis of Laramide Rocky Mountain basins and recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirement for the Degree of Philosophy _______________________________________________________________________

Date: 4/29/09 Peter DeCelles _______________________________________________________________________

Date: 4/29/09 David Dettman _______________________________________________________________________

Date: 4/29/09 Jay Quade _______________________________________________________________________

Date: 4/29/09 George Gehrels _______________________________________________________________________

Date: 4/29/09 Kapp Paul Final approval and acceptance of this dissertation is contingent upon the candidate’s submission of the final copies of the dissertation to the Graduate College.

I hereby certify that I have read this dissertation prepared under my direction and recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirement.

________________________________________________ Date: 4/29/09 Dissertation Director: Peter DeCelles ________________________________________________ Date: 4/29/09 Dissertation Director: David Dettman

STATEMENT BY AUTHOR

This dissertation has been submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Arizona and is deposited in the University Library to be made available to borrowers under rules of the Library.

Brief quotations from this dissertation are allowable without special permission, provided that accurate acknowledgment of source is made. Requests for permission for extended quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part may be grated by the head of the major department or the Dean of the Graduate College when in his or her judgment the proposed use of the material is in the interests of scholarship.In all other instances, however, permission must be obtained from the author.

–  –  –

This dissertation would not have been possible without the help of many people. My husband, Wei, and my daughter, Shunshun, are my backbone, they encourage and support me for pursuing the research and career I like; my parents and siblings in China are proud of me and encourage me to be brave in a different country. I am deeply indebted to my advisors: Drs. Pete DeCelles and David Dettman for the research opportunities, and their patience, support, advice, encouragement and constructive criticism. Both of them have spent great amount of time in field and laboratory to teach me field geology and lab techniques. Dr. Dettman also offered me financial support throughout time. I am very grateful to Dr. Jay Quade for inspiration, discussion and help.

Dr. Quade deserves to be one of my co-advisors. I would like to thank Dr. George Gehrels for his help with detrital zircon analyses and Dr. Paul Kapp for helpful discussion.

Many people have assisted me during my time at the University of Arizona. Lynn Peyton and Amanda Reynolds have been great support and good friends. I thank Tamara Goldin and Dan Ross for their assistance with fieldwork in beautiful Wyoming. I sincerely thank Ailiang Gu, Alex Pullen, Andrew Kowler, Andrew Leier, Antoine Vernon, Chao Li, Derek Hoffman, Facundo Fuentes, Nathan English, Joel Saylor, John Volkmer, Shundong He, Soledad Velasco, Timothy Shanahan, Victor Valencia, and Xiaoyu Zhang for their friendship and help.

This research was supported by grants from the Geological Society of America, ExxonMobil, Chevron, The Galileo Circle of the U of A, SEPM-RMS Donald L. Smith, and SEPM Robert J. Weimer Fund.

–  –  –

LIST OF FIGURES………………………………

LIST OF TABLES……………………………

ABSTRACT

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2: LATE PALEOCENE HIGH LARAMIDE RANGES IN

NORTHEAST WYOMING: OXYGEN ISOTOPE STUDY OF ANCIENT RIVER

WATER

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

REGIONAL SETTING

ANALYTICAL METHODS

OXYGEN ISOTOPE RESULTS

CALCULATION OF ANCIENT RIVER WATER δ18O VALUES

CONSTRAINTS, CORRECTIONS, AND APPLICATION TO

PALEOALTIMETRY

SEASONAL δ18O VARIATION IN ANCIENT AND MODERN RIVER

WATERS

DISCUSSION

High Canadian Rocky Mountains in Late Cretaceous………………...…..…33 High Surface Elevation of Eastern Laramide Ranges During Paleocene.......35 Lower Surface Elevation of the Western Laramide Province before Early Eocene





Implications

CONCLUSIONS

CHAPTER 3: WIDESPREAD BASEMENT EROSION IN LATE PALEOCENEEARLY EOCENE IN THE LARAMIDE ROCKY MOUNTAINS INFERRED

FROM 87SR/86SR RATIO OF BIVALVE FOSSILS

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION

GEOLOGICAL SETTING AND STRONTIUM SOURCE TERRANES...........74 STUDY AREA AND FIELD SAMPLING

ANALYTICAL METHODS

RESULTS

Modern River Water and Shell

Fossil Shell

DISCUSSION

Modern River System

TABLE OF CONTENTS - continued

Ancient River System and Basement Erosion

Powder River Basin

Washakie Basin

Other Basins

The Cause of Positively Correlated 87Sr/86Sr ratios and δ18O values..............88 Implications

CONCLUSIONS

CHAPTER 4: SEDIMENTOLOGY, DETRITAL ZIRCON GEOCHRONOLOGY,

STABLE ISOTOPE GEOCHEMISTRY OF THE LOWER EOCENE STRATA IN

THE WIND RIVER BASIN, CENTRAL WYOMING

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION

REGIONAL GEOLOGY

Stratigraphy and Age Control

Tectonic Setting

SEDIMENTOLOGY

Indian Meadows Formation: Alluvial Fan Association

Wind River Formation: Braided River Association

SANDSTONE PETROGRAPHY AND PROVENANCE

Methods and description

Interpretation

DETRITAL ZIRCON U-Pb GEOCHRONOLOGY

Samples and Methods

Results

Interpretation

STABLE ISOTOPE GEOCHEMISTRY

Methods

Results

Evaluation of Diagenesis

Oxygen Isotopes and Paleoaltimetry

Carbon Isotopes, Paleoclimate and pCO2

REGIONAL PALEOGEOGRAPHY

IMPLICATIONS FOR TECTONICS

Rapid Late Paleocene-Early Eocene Uplift of Basement-Cored Ranges......135 Post-Early Eocene Regional Uplift

CONCLUSIONS

WORKS CITED

–  –  –

Figure 2.1.

Shaded relief map of central and Canadian Rocky Mountains

Figure 2.2.

Generalized stratigraphic columns of sedimentary successions

Figure 2.3.

Measured and modeled δ18O values of ancient river water

Figure 2.4.

Seasonal δ18O variation of representative fossil shells

Figure 2.5.

Seasonal δ18O variation of three kinds of modern river to the east of Rocky Mountains

Figure 2.6.

Regression for sampling station latitude and the δ18O values of river water in low-elevation stations within the USA

Figure 2.7.

Estimated paleoelevation of the Canadian and Laramide Rocky Mountains..49 Figure 2.8.

Paleodrainage reconstruction of the studied area

Figure 2.9.

Schematic cross-sections showing the mechanism of forming high Laramide ranges

Figure 3.1.

Simplified geological map of the Laramide Rocky Mountains showing Sr source terranes.

Figure 3.2.

Generalized lithostratigraphic columns of studied sedimentary successions in studied basins.

Figure 3.3.

Maps of modern river watershed and Geology

Figure 3.4.

Diagrams of 87Sr/86Sr ratio vs. Sr concentration of river water

Figure 3.5.

Seasonal variation of the δ18O values and 87Sr/86Sr ratios of modern bivalve Unionids collected in the Tongue River

Figure 3.6.

Diagrams of 87Sr/86Sr ratio vs. δ18O value

Figure 3.7.

Diagram of 87Sr/86Sr ratio vs. Sr/Ca of modern and ancient rivers...............101 Figure 3.8.

Inferred drainage patterns and Precambrian basement exposure in late Cretaceous-early Paleocene, and late Paleocene-early Eocene....………………...........102 Figure 4.1.

General map of the United States, Wyoming and northwestern Wind River basin...............

Figure 4.2.

Chronostratigraphic chart for the northwestern Wind River basin...............143 Figure 4.3. Measured sections

Figure 4.4.

Photographs of northwestern Wind River basin outcrops

Figure 4.5.

Ternary diagrams showing sandstones compositions

Figure 4.6.

Photos of petrographic thin sections of sandstone

Figure 4.7.

Photos of the zircon grains

Figure 4.8.

U/Pb concordia diagrams

Figure 4.9.

U-Pb age-probability diagrams

Figure 4.10.

U/Pb concordia diagrams for a granite pebble

Figure 4.11.

Field photos and images of thin sections of the early Eocene carbonate nodules

Figure 4.12.

Results of the stable isotope analyses in this study

Figure 4.13.

Simplified stratigraphy, carbon and oxygen isotope values, percentage of granite clasts, Achaean zircons, and feldspar through section

Figure 4.14.

Oxygen isotope data of Early Eocene paleosol carbonate

Figure 4.15.

Paleogeographic sketch maps of the northwestern Wind River basin.......159

–  –  –

Table 2.1.

Age constraints for the study intervals in each basin

Table 2.2.

Paleomagnetic data and paleolatitude

Table 2.3.

δ13C and δ18O values of bulk individual shells and sample locations..............54 Table 2.4. δ13C and δ18O values of micromilled representative shells

Table 3.1.

Element concentration, and corrected strontium isotope ratios for selected fossil shells

Table 3.2.

Sampling location, isotope ratios, element concentration data for modern rivers

Table 3.3.

Isotope data for modern and fossil shell

Table 4.1.

Lithofacies and interpretations used in this study

Table 4.2.

Modal petrographic point-counting parameters

Table 4.3.

Modal petrographic data

Table 4.4 U-Pb (zircon) geochronologic analyses by laser-ablation multicollector ICP mass spectrometer

Table 4.5 Major age populations of detrital zircons in modern river sand and the early Eocene Eediment

Table 4.6 Isotope results

–  –  –

The Laramide Rocky Mountains in western U.S.A is an important topographic feature in the continental interior, yet its formation and evolution are poorly constrained. This study uses the oxygen and strontium isotope geochemistry of freshwater bivalve fossils from six Laramide basins in order to reconstruct the spatial evolution of the paleotopography and Precambrian basement erosion in late Cretaceous-early Eocene. In addition it uses the sedimentology, detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology, and isotope paleoaltimetry of early Eocene sedimentary strata to constrain the tectonic setting, paleogeography and paleoclimate of the Wind River basin. Annual and seasonal variation in ancient riverwater δ18O reconstructed from shell fossils shows that the Canadian Rocky Mountains was 4.5±1.0 km high in late Cretaceous-early Paleocene, and the Laramide ranges in eastern Wyoming reached 4.5±1.3 km high, while the ranges in western Wyoming were 1-2 km high in late Paleocene. The 87Sr/86Sr ratios of riverwaters reconstructed from the same fossils show that Proterozoic metamorphic carbonates in the Belt-Purcell Supergroup were not exposed in the Canadian Rocky Mountains during Late Cretaceous-early Paleocene, but that Precambrian silicate basement rock was exposed and eroded in the Laramide ranges during late Paleocene-early Eocene. The sedimentary environment of the early Eocene Wind River basin changed from gravelly fluvial and/or stream-dominated alluvial fan to low-sinuosity fluvial systems. Tectonic uplift of the Washakie and Wind River Range in early Eocene formed the modern paleodrainage system, although the elevation of the basin floor was only ~500 m high at that time, and early Eocene paleoclimate is more humid than modern climate.

–  –  –



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