Detrital zircon studies are providing new insights on the evolution of sedimentary basins but the role of sedimentary recycling remains largely undefined. In a broad region of northwestern North America, this contribution traces the pathway of detrital zircon sand grains from Proterozoic sandstones through Phanerozoic strata and argues for multi-stage sedimentary recycling over more than a billion years. As a test of our hypothesis, integrated palynology and detrital zircon provenance provides clear evidence for erosion of Carboniferous strata in the northern Cordillera as a sediment source for Upper Cretaceous strata. Our results help to calibrate Earth's sedimentary cycle by showing that recycling dominates sedimentary provenance for the refractory mineral zircon.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)