Stratigraphy and tectonic significance of Lower Paleozoic continental margin strata in northeastern Washington

Moira T. Smith, George E. Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Lower Paleozoic eugeoclinal strata in the Kootenay Arc in northeastern Washington and southeastern British Columbia are transitional between autochthonous lower Paleozoic miogeoclinal strata and outboard volcanic arc terranes of uncertain paleogeographic affinity. They provide a record of lower Paleozoic continental margin depositional and tectonic processes oceanward of the continental shelf. The southernmost stratigraphic unit, the Covada Group, is divided into two formations, the Daisy Formation, a mid fan sequence of arkosic and subarkosic wacke and arenite, and the Early Ordovician Butcher Mountain Formation, consisting of alkalic(?) pillow basalt and tuff of within‐plate affinity. Another unit, formerly part of the Covada Group, is excluded and informally named the Bradeen Hill assemblage. It contains chert, chert‐quartz arenite, quartz arenite, chert pebble conglomerate, shale, and basalt, and may be Ordovician to Devonian on the basis of stratigraphic evidence and regional correlations. The Covada Group and Bradeen Hill assemblage record (1) deposition of continentally derived sediments in a submarine fan setting, (2) relatively quiescent starved basin conditions, (3) local faulting; and (4) intermittent periods of volcanism, perhaps reflecting local extension. They can be correlated with other stratigraphic units in the Kootenay Arc and resemble units as far north as the Selwyn basin in northern Canada and as far south as the Roberts Mountains allochthon in central Nevada. This unites the stratigraphic record and implies a high degree of synchroneity of tectonic events along over 2500 km of the outer continental margin during early Paleozoic time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-620
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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