Correlation, Paleogeography, and Provenance of the Neoproterozoic Eastern Uinta Mountain Group, Goslin Mountain Area, Northeastern Utah

Daniel J. Rybczynski, Utah State University


Geologic mapping, facies analysis, sedimentary petrography, and detrital zircon analyses of undivided eastern Uinta Mountain Group stratigraphy are presented to better understand the depositional environments and tectonic setting of the Uinta Mountain Group basin. Subdivided units have been modified and correlated from previous work and include the Red Pine Shale, Hades Pass, Crouse Canyon, Outlaw Trail, and Diamond Breaks formations. Three lower-order maximum flooding surfaces associated with the lower Outlaw Trail formation, lower Hades Pass formation, and Red Pine Shale are interpreted. The relative magnitude of each lower-order transgression increases up section along with increasing diversity of palynomorph assemblages found in organic shale intervals. Six facies associations exist within the section and are interpreted as braided fluvial conglomerate, braided fluvial sandstone and conglomerate, braided fluvial sandstone, low-energy braided fluvial sandstone, mudflat, and offshore depositional environments. Both marine and non-marine interpretations are plausible for mudflat and offshore environments; however, previous interpretations of correlative Red Pine Shale exposures suggest a marine environment. The coarsest fluvial environments are restricted to the northern half of the study area and likely coincide with proximity to a tectonically-active northern basin margin. Paleocurrent analysis and the restriction of some subaqueous deposits to the north show northward-dipping depositional slopes, which suggest a tectonic control. Provenance work suggests three general sediment sources existed: an eastern source where ~1.1 Ga and lesser ~1.4 Ga detritus dominate, an east-northeastern source where ~1.8 Ga detritus dominate, and a north-northeastern arkosic source where ~2.7 Ga detritus dominate. Results suggest that during lower-order lowstands, sediments derived from eastern sources dominate. Higher concentrations of ~1.8 Ga and ~2.7 Ga detritus is likely coincident with proximity to the northern basin margin. During lower-order highstands, eastern or northern sources may dominate; northern sources appear more prominently within the Outlaw Trail formation, while eastern sources appear more prominently within the Red Pine Shale. Reasons for this may be linked to the magnitude of the transgressive interval sampled. These relationships, in conjunction with observations of previous studies, suggest the eastern Uinta Mountain Group was deposited in a half-graben style rift, a strike-slip basin, or some combination of the two.