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Detrital Zircon Geochronology and Sequence Stratigraphy of the Eureka Quartzite Formation Around the Tooele Arch, Western Utah and Eastern Nevada


The Middle-Late Ordovician Eureka Quartzite is a supermature quartz arenite deposited along the Early Paleozoic passive margin of western Laurentia. Detrital zircon geochronology of previous studies suggests the primary source was the Peace River Arch, Canada and sand was transported by longshore currents (Gehrels et al. 1995). Although Ordovician quartz arenites are extensive throughout the Cordilleran miogeosyncline, they are either absent or relatively thin across a broad area in Utah and Nevada called the Tooele Arch, an east-west oriented topographic high (Hintze 1951; Webb 1958). Detailed stratigraphic sections were measured at multiple locations adjacent to the Tooele Arch. Geochronologic methods will be utilized to determine if the Tooele Arch and more proximal sources contributed sediment to the Eureka Quartzite. A sequence stratigraphic study of these areas will provide insight into depositional environments and processes of the quartz arenite in this region. Detrital zircons will be extracted from each sample and U-Pb analysis using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) will be determined. Grain populations will be correlated with well recognized igneous provinces of the North American Craton to determine their ultimate source. Supermature quartz arenites have reservoir properties for petroleum in the Mid-Continental regions. Middle-Late Ordovician quartz arenites, such as the Simpson Group, St. Peter Sandstone, have also been targeted as a source for hydraulic fracturing sands. This study will assist in elucidating distribution patterns of the sources of these sediments and the integration of sequence stratigraphy and detrital zircon geochronology may be applicable to other similar quartz arenite units.