Seward Peninsula (Fig. 1) may be divided into two geologic terranes (Fig. 2) on the basis of stratigraphy, structure, and metamorphic history. The Seward terrane, an area 150 by 150 km in the central and eastern peninsula, is dominated by Precambrian(?) and early Paleozoic blueschist-, greenschist-, and amphibolite-facies schist and marble, and intruded by three suites of granitic rocks. The York terrane, roughly 100 by 75 km, occupies western Seward Peninsula and the Bering Straits region; it is composed of Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, and possibly older limestone, argillaceous limestone, dolostone, and phyllite, which are cut by a suite of Late Cretaceous tin-bearing granites. The boundary between the Seward and York terranes is poorly exposed but is thought to be a major thrust fault because of its sinuous map trace, a discontinuity in metamorphic grade, and differences in stratigraphy across the boundary (Travis Hudson, oral communication, 1984). The boundary between the Seward terrane and the Yukon-Koyukuk province to the east is complicated by vertical faults (the Kugruk fault Zone of Sainsbury, 1974) and obscured by Cretaceous and Tertiary cover.
The Seward Peninsula heretofore was thought to consist largely of rocks of Precambrian age (Sainsbury, 1972, 1974, 1975; Hudson, 1977), Microfossil data, however, indicate that many of the rocks considered to be Precambrian are early Paleozoic in age (Till and others, 1986; Dumoulin and Harris, 1984; Dumoulin and Till, 1985; Till and others, 1983; Wandervoort, 1985). It is likely that Precambrian rocks are a minor part of the stratigraphy of the Seward Peninsula.