Uppermost Devonian (Famennian) to Lower Mississippian events of the western U.S. Stratigraphy, sedimentology, chemostratigraphy, and detrital zircon geochronology

D. Cole, P. M. Myrow, D. A. Fike, A. Hakim, G. E. Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Upper Devonian to Lower Mississippian strata in Utah and Montana record global events through this important interval in Earth history. Late Famennian strata of the Beirdneau, Leatham, and Pilot Shale formations in Utah, and Three Forks and Sappington formations in Montana, record widespread deposition of generally fine-grained siliciclastic and carbonate strata. Integration of sedimentology, physical stratigraphy, chemostratigraphy, and published biostratigraphy allows for the recognition of important disconformities and regional stratigraphic patterns. These enable the reconstruction of uppermost Devonian to lowermost Mississippian depositional, tectonic, and eustatic history of the region.Carbon isotopic data allows for stratigraphic evaluation of the presence and absence of global bioevents of the Late Devonian, including the Annulata, Dasberg, and Hangenberg events, some of which are clearly recorded in hinterland deposits to the east in Colorado. While the Devonian-Mississippian boundary is also missing in our sections, a significant positive shift in δ13Ccarb in Lower Mississippian strata in Utah and Montana represents one of the largest positive δ13Ccarb isotope excursions of the Phanerozoic, linked to drawdown of atmospheric CO2 and glaciation in the Kinderhookian.Detrital zircon spectra from latest Devonian to Early Mississippian strata of Utah and Colorado include populations representing derivation from the Mazatzal and Yavapai provinces, Middle Proterozoic anorogenic granite bodies, and a small influx of Grenville and presumed Appalachian-Caledonian grains. Minor Paleoproterozoic and Late Archean peaks in Utah are likely multiple generation grains originally derived from the Peace River Arch of northwestern Canada and recycled in Ordovician rocks of Nevada. These patterns in detrital zircon geochronological data reflect, in part, changes in sediment dispersal patterns due to tectonic and eustastic variability within the Antler foreland basin during the Devonian-Mississippian boundary interval. This variability also led to irregular spatial patterns of unconformity development, as well as complicated physical stratigraphic and chemostratigraphic architecture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Chemostratigraphy
  • Detrital zircons
  • Devonian
  • Mississippian
  • Montana
  • Utah

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology


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