Detrital Zircon Link Between Headwaters and Terminus of the Upper Triassic Chinle-Dockum Paleoriver System

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Science  05 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5271, pp. 97-100
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5271.97


New detrital-zircon geochronologic data reveal that a through-going paleoriver connected Texas with Nevada in Late Triassic time. Sandstone from the Upper Triassic Santa Rosa Sandstone (Dockum Group) from northwestern Texas contains a detrital zircon suite nearly identical to that found in western Nevada in the Upper Triassic Osobb Formation (Auld Lang Syne Group, correlative with the Chinle Formation). The Santa Rosa Sandstone was derived in large part from the eroded Cambrian core of the Amarillo-Wichita uplift, as evidenced by abundant zircons with ages of 515 to 525 million years. Other zircon grains in the sandstone are Permian, Devonian, Proterozoic, and Archean in age and, with the exception of the Archean grain, are also matched by the population in the Nevada strata.