Provenance analysis of middle Cretaceous sedimentary rocks can help distinguish between disparate tectonic models of Cretaceous Cordilleran paleogeography by establishing links between sediment and source, as well as between currently separated basins. This study combines new detrital zircon age data and compositional data with existing provenance data for the Pythian Cave conglomerate, an informally-named unit deposited unconformably on the eastern Klamath Mountains, to test possible correlations between the Pythian Cave conglomerate and similar-age deposits in the Hornbrook Formation and the Great Valley Group. These provenance results indicate that restoring Late Cretaceous clockwise rotation of the Blue Mountains adds a significant sediment source for Cretaceous basins previously associated with only the Klamath Mountains (e.g., the Pythian Cave conglomerate and Hornbrook Formation) or a combined Klamath-Sierran source (e.g., Great Valley Group). Comparison of the Pythian Cave conglomerate with the Klamath River Conglomerate and the Lodoga petrofacies suggests that the Pythian Cave conglomerate system was separate from the nearby Hornbrook Formation and was probably related to the Lodoga petrofacies of the Great Valley Group.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Surpless, K.D., & Augsburger, G.A. (2009). Provenance of the Pythian Cave Conglomerate, Northern California: Implications for Mid-Cretaceous Paleogeography of the U.S. Cordillera. Cretaceous Research, 30(5), 1181-1192. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2009.05.005