Palaeogeography and Fluvial to Estuarine Architecture of the Dakota Formation (Cretaceous, Albian), Eastern Nebraska, USA

  1. Michael D. Blum6,
  2. Susan B. Marriott7 and
  3. Suzanne F. Leclair8
  1. R. M. Joeckel1,
  2. G. A. Ludvigson2,
  3. B. J. Witzke2,
  4. E. P. Kvale3,
  5. P. L. Phillips4,
  6. R. L. Brenner4,
  7. S. G. Thomas5 and
  8. L. M. Howard1

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304350.ch24

Fluvial Sedimentology VII

Fluvial Sedimentology VII

How to Cite

Joeckel, R. M., Ludvigson, G. A., Witzke, B. J., Kvale, E. P., Phillips, P. L., Brenner, R. L., Thomas, S. G. and Howard, L. M. (2005) Palaeogeography and Fluvial to Estuarine Architecture of the Dakota Formation (Cretaceous, Albian), Eastern Nebraska, USA, in Fluvial Sedimentology VII (eds M. D. Blum, S. B. Marriott and S. F. Leclair), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304350.ch24

Editor Information

  1. 6

    Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

  2. 7

    School of Geography and Environmental Management, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK

  3. 8

    Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University, Dimwiddie Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Conservation and Survey Division, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 113 Nebraska Hall, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0517, USA

  2. 2

    Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey Bureau, 109 Trowbridge Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1319, USA

  3. 3

    Indiana Geological Survey, Indiana University, 611 North Walnut Grove, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA

  4. 4

    Geology and Geography Program, University of North Carolina-Pembroke, Pembroke, North Carolina 28372-1510, USA

  5. 5

    Department of Geosciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0340, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 15 FEB 2005

Book Series:

  1. Special Publication Number 35 of the International Association of Sedimentologists

Book Series Editors:

  1. Ian Jarvis

Series Editor Information

  1. School of Earth Sciences and Geography, Centre for Earth and Environmental Science Research, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston-upon-Thames KT1 2EE, UK

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405126519

Online ISBN: 9781444304350



  • basal Cretaceous deposit at eastern edge of Western Interior Seaway (WIS);
  • Cretaceous fluvial to estuarine sediments;
  • palaeogeography of sub-Dakota bedrock surface;
  • outcrop-scale architecture;
  • Ash Grove Quarry (AGQ);
  • larger scale architecture;
  • Dakota Formation in easternmost Platte River Valley (EPRV)


Regional mapping in easternmost Nebraska indicates that the Dakota Formation (Cretaceous) fills broad palaeovalleys incised into a Pennsylvanian bedrock surface with at least 115 m of regional relief. These palaeovalleys contain successions of cross-stratified sandstones, conglomerates and mudrocks, with evidence for multiple episodes of cut-and-fill. Palaeocurrent measurements from large sandstone bodies indicate dominant westward to northward flow paralleling the orientations of the mapped sub-Dakota palaeovalleys. Coarse clasts from both local and distant sources appear in coarse sandstones and conglomerates at the base of the Dakota at multiple sites. These observations are compatible with the interpretation of a dominant fluvial component in Dakota deposition. There are also features, however, that are compatible with marine tidal influence, such as laminites, flaser and linsen bedding, mud drapes, reactivation surfaces in cross-stratified sandstones and marine to brackish trace fossils. Well-logs through complete Dakota sections west of the study area show smaller scale coarsening upward and fining upward trends, as well as medium-scale stratigraphical trends. In these wells, the Dakota typically shows 7–10 discrete, medium-scale packages, each a few to several tens of metres thick. Thick valley-filling channel sandstones, meandering fluvial deposits and possible deltaic or shoreface deposits are interpreted from electronic logs of these wells. At least one well, represented by a thorough lithological description, electronic logs and partial core, also appears to contain tidal facies in the upper Dakota. Thus, the deposition of the Dakota in eastern Nebraska, particularly the filling of palaeovalleys in the outcrop belt, involves a complex history of fluvial and estuarine deposition.