Factors controlling aeolian sequence stratigraphy: clues from super bounding surface features in the Middle Jurassic Page Sandstone

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ABSTRACT

Super bounding surfaces (super surfaces) facilitate delineation of internal genetic architecture, or sequence stratigraphy, of aeolian sandstones and help in distinguishing controls on aeolian accumulation, hiatuses in accumulation and preservation of such sandstones. The Middle Jurassic Page Sandstone is an amalgamation of such sandstone units accumulated in a dry erg system, with water table below the surface, separated by super surfaces with features indicating an arid climate but a near surface water table. The Page Sandstone accumulated episodically with periods of aeolian accumulation followed by deflation to the water table; the water table fluctuated up and down through the sediment package. This rising water table did not directly control accumulation, but placed a limit on extent of deflation by stabilizing the substrate, thereby directly controlling preservation of the aeolian unit. A combination of relative water table behaviour, sediment supply and aerodynamic conditions upwind and within the erg controlled the thickness of genetic packages within the erg. A change in the pattern of deflation associated with super surface formation late in deposition of the Page Sandstone reflects a change in tectonic regime in the basin. The number of super surfaces and features on the super surfaces with the Page Sandstone suggest that the super surfaces represent more time than do the accumulations they enclose.

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