• Structural geology of the Big Bend anticline, Brooks Range foothills, Alaska

      Sanders, Cheryl M.; Wallace, Wesley; Prakash, Anupma; Hanks, Catherine (2014-12)
      Big Bend anticline is near the northern edge of the Brooks Range foothills of northern Alaska. The structure of the foothills is a low-taper triangle zone or passive-roof duplex within Brooks Range foreland basin deposits. The dominant structures are detachment folds locally cut by thrust faults and Big Bend anticline is one of these. This research combines detailed surface mapping (1:25,000) with interpretation of aerial photos and satellite imagery of the Big Bend anticline and seismic reflection data from the Umiat anticline to reconstruct its surface and subsurface geometry. The research area surrounds the Big Bend of the Chandler River and covers approximately 10 km². The mechanical stratigraphy of the area consists of the competent Nanushuk sandstones between two incompetent units-the overlying Seabee and underlying Torok shales. The structure of the area consists of an east-trending anticline with a hinge that branches westward into two open, broad anticlines and an intervening syncline. A forethrust near the southern hinge and a backthrust near the northern hinge have broken through the anticline west of the branch point. Subsurface data of Umiat anticline combined with surface projected cross sections from the study area provide an analog of the subsurface structure in the Big Bend area. These cross sections show gentle anticlines separated by flat bottomed synclines in competent Nanushuk Formation sandstone. The anticlines overly Torok Formation thickened by north vergent folds and thrust faults above a detachment zone. Collectively, these structures form a low-taper triangle zone. Cross section restoration suggests more shortening in the Torok duplex than in the overlying folds and breakthrough faults. Results of this research provide an analog for other anticlines in the region that are currently the focus of oil and gas exploration.