Chitistone and Nizina Limestones and Kamishak Formation

Unit symbol: Trcnk
Age range Upper Triassic, Norian to Carnian (235 to 208.5 Ma)
Lithology: Sedimentary
Group name: Marble and limestone of Wrangellia
The Chitistone and Nizina Limestones, correlative unnamed units in the Mount Hayes and Healy quadrangles, and the Kamishak Formation to the southwest are widespread in southern Alaska. The Chitistone Limestone is stratigraphically lower than the Nizina Limestone and is as thick as 600 m. Its lower part consists of abundant dolostone, algal-mat chips, stromatolites, and relicts of evaporites, whereas the upper part consists of varieties of limestone including lime mudstone, wackestone, packstone, and grainstone; both parts are exposed in southern east-central Alaska. The overlying Nizina Limestone is as thick as 500 m and consists of varieties of limestone that generally contain subordinate chert as nodules, lenses, and coalescing masses; its lithology is gradational into the overlying McCarthy Formation (unit J^mc). The upper Chitistone and cherty Nizina were deposited in a shallow to moderately deep marine neritic environment, transitioning from an intertidal to supratidal setting with local sabkha facies full of algal-mat chips, stromatolites, and evaporate relics typical of the dolostone-rich lower Chitistone rocks (Richter and others, 2006). Sparse fossils characterized by the ammonite genus Tropites indicate a late Carnian age for the Chitistone (MacKevett, 1971). Fossils are also sparse in the Nizina; those that are found consist mainly of pelecypods of the genus Halobia. Paleontologic studies by N.J. Silberling (written commun., 1962, to E.M. McKevett) indicate that the Nizina Limestone is Late Triassic and ranges in age from late Karnian or early Norian to early middle Norian. Along with the underlying Nikolai Greenstone, these limestone units are defining parts of the Wrangellia terrane (Jones and others, 1977). Kamishak Formation consists of limestone, chert, porcellanite, and minor tuff and volcanic breccia that divided into two formal members and an informal middle member; they are, in descending order: the Ursus, middle, and Bruin Limestone Members (Detterman and Reed, 1980). Unit primarily found along west side of Cook Inlet, east of the mountain range crest where a measured reference section is about 800 m thick. Depositional environment of Kamishak Formation was shallow water and high energy; intervals of unit include both reefs and biohermal buildups. Fossils found within the middle and Bruin Limestone Members of the Kamishak Formation yield a Norian age (Detterman and Reed, 1980; C.D. Blome, oral commun., 1981). As mapped here, unit also includes a small area of Triassic limestone and chert associated with the Chilikadrotna Greenstone in the central Lake Clark quadrangle. Kamishak Formation is cut by abundant dikes and sills that are related either to the Cottonwood Bay Greenstone or the Talkeetna Formation (Detterman and Reed, 1980)

Source map information

Source map Richter, D.H., 1976, Geologic map of the Nabesna quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Geologic Investigations Map I-932, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.
Symbol Trl
Unit name Limestone
Description Upper Part: thin-bedded, fine-grained limestone, interbedded with thin beds of argillite and carbonaceous shale. Minor beds of calcareous sandstone and grit Lower Part: fine-grained, massive limestone with chert lenses
Lithology Sedimentary

Correlated geologic units

Label Trl
Description Upper Triassic limestone, might not be Chitistone -- Nizina equivalent
Geologic age Late-Triassic
Geologic setting Sedimentary, carbonate
Lithology Form Importance
Limestone < Carbonate < Sedimentary Bed Major
Shale < Mudstone < Clastic < Sedimentary Carbonaceous Indeterminate, major
Argillite < Metaclastic < Metasedimentary < Metamorphic Minor
Chert < Chemical < Sedimentary Lense Incidental