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teristic appearance. The first important change in the geology along the route traversed by us was met on reaching Pinnacle pass.


The rocks of this system, as already stated, are best exposed in the great fault-scarp forming the northern wall of Pinnacle pass. They are more varied in composition and have preserved a better record of the conditions under which they were deposited than the sandstones and shales of the Yakutat system.

Only an approximate section of the rocks exposed in the Pinnacle-pass cliff was obtained.

Sandstone and conglomerate weathering into spires . 500 feet.
Evenly bedded, sandy shale in thin layers

Coarse conglomerate; bowlders of crystalline rock.
Thinly bedded, dark-colored sandstone and shale
Reddish conglomerate

Light-gray sandstone, with thin, irregular coal seams


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There is also a compact, crystalline, gray limestone near the upper portion of the series, which escaped notice in the cliffs. At the end of the Pinnacle-pass cliffs, however, where the rocks are turned northward by the great fault which decides the course of the Seward glacier, and dip eastward at a high angle, the limestone is well exposed, and has a thickness of about 50 feet. In many places the surfaces of the layers are covered with fragments of large Pecten shells. Associated with the limestone there are reddish shales, much crushed and broken, and a peculiar conglomerate. The pebbles in the conglomerate are of many varieties, and were observed at places along the Pinnacle pass cliffs. Their most marked peculiarity lies in the fact that they have been sheared by a movement in the rocks and sometimes broken into several fragments which have been reunited, probably by pressure. These faulted pebbles are characteristic of the strata from which they were derived. Similar pebbles were afterward obtained in the Marvine glacier near its junction with the Malaspina glacier, thus indicating that there are other outcrops of the conglomerate about Mount Cook, near where the Marvine glacier

Fossils from Pinnacle Pass.


has its source.

Two quartz pebbles from the conglomerate of Pinnacle pass are shown in the accompanying illustrations. The larger pebble (shown in figure 7) is of bluish-gray quartz, and the smaller one (depicted in figure 8) is of white quartz. The fragments into which they have been broken are now firmly united. The engravings are photo-mechanical (Moss process) reproductions from the objects.

In the northern and western part of the Samovar hills the rocks of the Pinnacle system again appear, forming a bold angular ridge, curving southward and reaching the border of the Agassiz glacier. The southern face of this range is precipitous and, like the Pinnacle pass cliffs, exhibits the edges of northwarddipping strata. Its northern and western slopes are heavily snowbound. It is in reality a continuation of the Pinnacle pass fault, but thrown out of line by the cross-fault which marked out the course of the Seward glacier.

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The Yakutat and Pinnacle systems are so easily recognized that their distribution can be distinguished at a glance, when the outcrops are not concealed beneath the nearly universal covering of snow. The rocks of the Yakutat series are heavily bedded sandstones and shales, and have in general a light-brown tint; while the rocks of the Pinnacle series are thinly bedded and dark in color, appearing black at a distance.

The presence of a Pecten (P. caurinus (?) Gld.) in the limestone of the Pinnacle series has already been mentioned. Other fossils were obtained from sandstones and shales at the crest of the cliffs above Pinnacle pass at an elevation of 5,000 feet. These

were submitted to Dr. W. H. Dall, who kindly identified them as follows:

Mya arenaria, L.;

Mytilus edulis, L.;

Leda fossa, Baird, or L. minuta, Fabr.;

Macoma inconspicua, B. and S.;

Cardium islandicum, L.;

Litorina atkana, Dall.

All of these species are stated by Dall to be still living in the oceanic waters of Alaska. The very recent age of the rocks in which they occur is thus established.

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In strata closely connected with the layers in which these shells were found there occur many fine leaf impressions, a few of which were brought away. These have been examined by Professor L. F. Ward, who has identified them with four species of Salix, closely resembling living species. The report on these interesting fossils forms Appendix D.

The age indicated by both invertebrates and plants is late Tertiary (Pliocene) or early Pleistocene. This determination is of great significance when taken in connection with the structure of the region, and shows that the mountains in the St. Elias region are young.

Not only was a part, at least, of the Pinnacle system deposited during the life of living species of mollusks, but also the whole of the Yakutat series, the stratigraphic position of which is, if my determination is correct, above the Pinnacle system. After the sediments composing the rocks of these two series were de

Age of the Pinnacle Series.


posited in the sea as strata of sand, mud, etc., they were consolidated, overthrust, faulted, and upheaved into one of the grandest mountain ridges on the continent. Then, after the mountains had reached a considerable height, if not their full growth, the snows of winter fell upon them, and glaciers were born; the glaciers increased to a maximum, and their surfaces reached. from a thousand to two thousand feet higher than now on the more southern mountain spurs, and afterward slowly wasted away to their present dimensions. All of this interesting and varied history has been enacted during the life of existing species of plants and animals.

The relative age of the Yakutat and Pinnacle series is the weakest point in the history sketched above. The facts on which it rests are as follows: At Pinnacle pass the sandstones and shales forming the southern wall belong to the Yakutat system and are much disturbed, while the northern wall, or the heaved side of the fault, is composed of the rocks of the Pinnacle system, inclined northward at an angle of 30° or 40°. North of this fault-scarp, in the foothills of Mount Owen, sandstones and shales, seemingly identical with those of the Yakutat system, again occur, although their direct connection with the rocks south of Pinnacle pass was not observed, owing to the snow that obscured the outcrops. Again at Dome pass a similar relation seems evident, but cannot be directly established. The immediate foothills of Mounts Augusta, Malaspina, and St. Elias are also of sandstone, lithologically the same as the Yakutat series. The conclusion that the Yakutat system is younger than the Pinnacle-pass rocks was reached in the field after many other hypotheses had been tried and found wanting, and to my mind it explains all the observations made. Even should the supposed relations of the two series under discussion be reversed, it would still be true that a very large part of the rocks of the St. Elias region were deposited since the appearance of living species of mollusks and plants, and that the prevailing structure of the region was imposed at a still later date. This will appear more clearly after examining the structure of the region.


The rock forming several thousand feet of the upper portion of the St. Elias range is a schist in which the planes of bedding

24-NAT. GEOG. MAG., VOL. III, 1891.

are preserved. The dip of the strata is northeastward, and has exerted a decided influence on the weathering of the mountain crests. As the opportunities for examining this formation were unsatisfactory, a detailed account of it will not now be attempted.


The abnormal thickness of the Yakutat series, due to crushing and overthrust, has been referred to, as has also the superposition of the St. Elias schist upon rock supposed to belong to the Yakutat system.

The plane of contact between the sandstone and the overlying schist of the St. Elias range dips northeastward at an angle of about 15°, corresponding, as nearly as can be determined, with the dip of the strata in the sandstone itself. All of the observations made in this connection indicate that the schist has been overthrust upon the sandstones. After this took place the great. faults to which the range owes its present relief were formed.

About Mount Cook, however, and in the elevated plateau east of Yakutat bay, the conditions are different from those observed along the base of the St. Elias range. The only displacements known in the Yakutat system south and east of Pinnacle pass is the great fault which presumably exists where the rocks of the foothills disappear beneath the gravel and glaciers of the Piedmont region, the faults referred to belonging to the same series as those which determine the southern and southwestern borders of the St. Elias range and many of the foothills south of the main escarpment. Besides the great faults which trend from St. Elias toward the northeast and northwest, there are several cross-faults, one of which determines the position of the Seward glacier through a portion of its course, while another marks out the path of the Agassiz glacier; and two others may be recognized just east of the summit of St. Elias, which have dropped portions of the eastern end of the orographic block forming the crowning peak of the range.

The southern face of Mount St. Elias is a fault-scarp. The mountain itself is formed by the upturned edge of a faulted block in which the stratification is inclined northeastward. As has just been mentioned, the mountain stands at the intersection. of two lines of displacement, one trending in a northeasterly and the other in a northwesterly direction. The one trending north

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