Climatic Controls on Ancient Desert Sedimentation: Some Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Examples from NW Europe and the Western Interior of the USA

  1. P. L. de Boer5 and
  2. D. G. Smith6
  1. L. B. Clemmensen1,
  2. I. E. I. Øxnevad2,† and
  3. P. L. de Boer3

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304039.ch27

Orbital Forcing and Cyclic Sequences

Orbital Forcing and Cyclic Sequences

How to Cite

Clemmensen, L. B., Øxnevad, I. E. I. and de Boer, P. L. (2009) Climatic Controls on Ancient Desert Sedimentation: Some Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Examples from NW Europe and the Western Interior of the USA, in Orbital Forcing and Cyclic Sequences (eds P. L. de Boer and D. G. Smith), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304039.ch27

Editor Information

  1. 5

    Utrecht, The Netherlands

  2. 6

    London, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    Geologisk Institut, Københavns Universitet, DK-1350 København K, Denmark

  2. 2

    Geologisk Institutt, Avd. A, Universitetet i Bergen, 5001 Bergen, Norway

  3. 3

    Comparative Sedimentology Division, Institute of Earth Sciences, P.O. Box 80.021, NL-3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands

  1. Rogaland Research, P.O. Box 2503 Ullandhaug, N-4004 Stavanger, Norway

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 28 JAN 1994

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632037360

Online ISBN: 9781444304039

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Keywords:

  • climatic controls on ancient desert sedimentation - NW Europe and the Western Interior of the USA;
  • stacked sedimentary cycles;
  • sand availability and wind regime;
  • basin subsidence and groundwater level;
  • Corrie sandstone;
  • Exmouth sandstone and mudstone formation

Summary

This study of ancient desert deposits tests the possibility that cyclicity in aeolian and associated deposits, formed at low palaeolatitudes on the megacontinent of Pangaea during the Early Permian to Early Jurassic, was orbitally controlled.

The deposits investigated are characterized by vertically stacked sedimentary cycles. These cycles are simple, or more commonly composite, and range in thickness from about 2 m to more than 400 m. Their composition indicates repeated climatic fluctuations between arid and humid conditions, and the thickness and thickness distribution of these cycles in combination with their palaeolatitudinal position fit a model in which Milankovitch-type climatic fluctuations would have produced them. Some of the formations studied seem to be composed of stacked precession cycles (20 ka), which form part of thicker eccentricity cycles (100 and 400 ka). Other formations display only one order of cyclicity which complicates correlation with specific orbital cycles. If orbital forcing is accepted for these successions, ancient accumulation rates can be calculated; the resulting figures compare very well with values from modern basins. The lack of good time control in most of the basins studied makes it impossible to prove definitely the origin of the cycles. Milankovitch theory, however, is at least a promising candidate for explanation of the cyclic nature of ancient desert deposits.