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Environments of Deposition of the Uppermost Part of the Cody Shale and the Mesaverde and Meeteetse Formations of Late Cretaceous Age, Shotgun Butte Area, Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
The environments of deposition of the uppermost part of the Cody Shale and the Mesaverde and Meeteetse Formations of Late Cretaceous age were studied on outcrop in the Shotgun Butte area in the north-central part of the Wind River Reservation. A shoreface sandstone occurs in the lower part of the Mesaverde Formation at all localities studied, and is directly overlain by a coaly interval. Repetitive coarsening-upward cycles of mudstone, siltstone, and sandstone occur in the 200 ft interval of the upper part of the Cody Shale below the shoreface sandstone. These Cody sandstones are typically hummocky cross stratified with symmetrical ripples near the top, indicating that they are largely storm surge deposits that were later reworked. Channel-form sandstones from 10 to 20 ft thick, with abundant locally derived clayey clasts, occur in a 75 ft thick interval below the shoreface at one locality. These unusual sandstones are largely confined to a narrow area of the outcrop and grade laterally into more typical storm surge deposits. They may be unusually large storm surge channels created when high-energy flow conditions were localized to a limited area of the shelf.
The Mesaverde Formation above the shoreface sandstone is divided into a middle member and the Teapot Sandstone Member. The lower part of the middle member is everywhere coaly. Erosional-based sandstones in this coaly interval are highly variable in thickness and architecture. Thin, single channel sandstone bodies were deposited by moderate to high sinuosity streams, and thick, multistory channel sandstone bodies were deposited by rapidly switching fluvial channel systems that remained relatively stationary for extended periods of time. The architecture of the fluvial channel sandstones in the overlying noncoaly interval appears to be highly variable as well, with complex multistory sandstones occurring at different stratigraphic levels at different localities. This distribution may be explained by long term stability of fluvial channel systems followed by major avulsion events.
The Teapot Sandstone Member consists of fairly persistent to lenticular white multistory sandstone units that are as much as 85 ft thick and contain trough cross beds as much as 5 ft high. These sandstone units are interbedded with gray mudstones and carbonaceous shales. Paleosols are preserved at the tops of individual sandstones in the multistory units in some places. It is suggested that these sandstones were deposited largely by low-sinuosity to braided streams. The Meeteetse Formation consists of alternating coal and sandstone-rich intervals. The coal-rich intervals have relatively thin fluvial channel sandstones probably deposited by medium to high sinuosity streams whereas the sand-rich intervals have thick (to 105 ft) multistory fluvial channel sandstones possibly deposited by low-sinousity to braided streams.
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