Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Charlotte J. Mehrtens


The Monkton Formation of the western shelf stratigraphic sequence in Vermont (VT) is identified as a Lower Cambrian regressive sandstone unit containing parasequences recording tidal flat progradation. Previous workers identified cycles believed to represent parasequences in a portion of a 1034' deep geothermal well drilled at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. For this study, both outcrop and well geophysical surveys were completed to better identify gamma emission curves and relative values for parasequences and select lithologies that are indicators of bathymetry and sea level. After using physical stratigraphic techniques to assemble a composite stratigraphic section for the Monkton Formation, analysis of the gamma emission curve and relative gamma values resulted in the identification and characterization of parasequences and select lithologies within the Monkton. Interpretation of bathymetry-sensitive lithologies along with parasequence architecture and thickness trends reveals three distinctive intervals over the thickness of the Monkton. It is recognized that the succession of these intervals represents an overall decreasing rate in accommodation space generation through Monkton deposition.

Previous workers have suggested that biostratigraphic relationships of the Monkton Formation to the Potsdam Group in New York (NY) suggest that that they would be at least partially correlative. To further refine age relationships and constrain and compare the provenance of the Vermont stratigraphy locally and regionally, zircon samples were collected from the Monkton and the overlying Danby Formations and radiometric age determinations were completed by laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) at University of Arizona Laserchron Center. Zircon age probability distribution curves show two dominate age peaks between 1.05-1.09 Ga and 1.15-1.18 Ga for the Monkton and Danby suggesting either a continuity of provenance through the Cambrian or the cycling of the Monkton's sand. The 1.05-1.09 Ga age range corresponds to rocks generated during the Ottawan Orogeny while the 1.15-1.18 Ga range is associated with the Shawinigan Orogeny and anorthosite-mangerite-charnockite-granite (AMCG) plutonism. Dominant age peaks in the Vermont samples between 1.15-1.18 Ga are similar to the 1.16 Ga age peak reported by other workers from the Altona and Ausable Formations of the Potsdam Group of New York. The shared dominant age peak and close proximity of the Vermont and New York stratigraphy may suggest a primarily shared provenance.



Number of Pages

138 p.

Included in

Geology Commons