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ABSTRACT

The most extensive Jurassic marine transgression in North America reached its maximum limits during the Oxfordian Age. At this time, siliciclastic sediments were being brought into the North American seaway from an uplifted zone to the west. Within this setting, complexes of sand ridges and coquinoid sands layers were deposited. Coquinoid sandstones appear to fill erosional scours and were interpreted as channel fills. Re-evaluation of these features in the light of recently discovered attributes of modern shelf sediments and processes has produced a revised model of coquinoid sand deposition in this setting. Coquinoid sandstones which fill ‘channel-like’ scours in the Oxfordian (Upper Jurassic) rocks of central Wyoming and south-central Montana, appear to have formed through the migration of sand waves across the crests of inner shelf sand ridges during periods of storm and tidal flow. Erosion in the zone of flow reattachment in the troughs between sand waves resulted in the development of shell lags. Migration of these scour zones as the sand waves advanced resulted in the deposition of sheet-like coquinoid sandstone bodies. Sand waves crossing the ridge crest tended to migrate more slowly and to be overstepped by later sand waves. Sand wave troughs thus buried have channel-like geometries with apparent epsilon bedding.