An understanding of fluvial-aeolian deposition derived from modern case-examples in a previous study is applied to the Permian Cutler Formation and Cedar Mesa Sandstone on the Colorado Plateau. These formations supply an excellent three-dimensional exposure of intertonguing fluvial and aeolian strata. Four distinct facies associations form the bulk of the Cutler Formation and Cedar Mesa Sandstone: (1) aeolian dune deposits; (2) wet interdune deposits; (3) fluvial channel deposits; and (4) overbank-interdune deposits. In addition, two distinctive types of erosion surfaces are found within the Cutler Formation and Cedar Mesa Sandstone: pebble- to granule-rich erosion surfaces (aeolian deflation surfaces) and flood surfaces.
Fluvial and aeolian intertonguing result in extensive tabular sheets of aeolian sandstone separated by flood surfaces and overbank-interdune deposits. Fluvial channels are associated with the deposits overlying flood surfaces and are incised into the underlying aeolian sandstones. Overbank-interdune deposits and wet interdune deposits cover flood surfaces and intertongue with overlying aeolian sandstones.
The primary characteristics of ancient fluvial-aeolian deposition are overbank-interdune deposits and pronounced extensive erosion surfaces (flood surfaces), which are parallel to underlying fluvial sandstones and thus trend parallel to the palaeoslope and palaeohydrological gradient.