Fluvial-aeolian interactions: Part II, ancient systems

Authors

  • R. P. LANGFORD,

    1. Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
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      Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, University Station, Box X, Austin, Texas 78713–7508, USA.

  • M. A. CHAN

    1. Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
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ABSTRACT

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.

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