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Depositional Setting and Paleogeography of Ordovician Vinini Formation, Central Nevada

FINNEY, STANLEY C., and BRUCE D. PERRY, California State University, Long Beach, CA

The eugeoclinal strata of the Ordovician Vinini Formation composes most of the Roberts Mountains allochthon (RMA). Its stratigraphy, reconstructed in the Roberts Mountains, can be precisely correlated throughout much of the RMA and into coeval strata of the autochthonous miogeocline by means of graptolite and conodont biostratigraphy. The Vinini is a mixture of clastic lithologies with some limestone and greenstone. Coarser clastics, characterized by well-rounded and well-sorted sands derived from cratonic sources, occur in two separate intervals and provide critical data on depositional and paleogeographic setting.

The lower interval, hundreds of meters thick, was deposited in the latest Ibexian-earliest Whiterockian and can be closely correlated throughout central Nevada. It is a mixture of quartz sandstone, siltstone, limestone, and calcareous sandstone, deposited by turbidity flows during a lowstand of sea level. Both eastern and western sources have been interpreted for these sands.

The upper interval is a prominent, pure quartzite up to 20 m thick deposited as a prograding blanket of sand in the latest Whiterockian-earliest Mohawkian. It occurs in the Vinini in the northern Toquima Range and in a parautochthonous sequence of transitional strata in the southern Toiyabe Range. This interval represents the most basinward edge of the Eureka Quartzite, which was also deposited across the miogeocline.

The presence of sands of the Eureka Quartzite in the RMA indicates that the basin in which the RMA strata were deposited was immediately adjacent to the margin of North America in the Ordovician.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91009©1991 AAPG-SEPM-SEG-SPWLA Pacific Section Annual Meeting, Bakersfield, California, March 6-8, 1991 (2009)