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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 44 (1960)

Issue: 6. (June)

First Page: 954

Last Page: 954

Title: Mesaverde Group in Adjoining Areas of Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming: ABSTRACT

Author(s): John A. Burger

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The mixed marine and nonmarine Mesaverde group (Late Cretaceous) overlies and intertongues with the marine Mancos shale or its equivalents and underlies and intertongues with the marine Lewis shale or underlies continental rocks of latest Cretaceous or Paleocene age. The area studied is approximately 200 miles square on both sides of the Wyoming and Utah-Colorado state line.

Formations and members in 7 smaller geographic subdivisions are described and related in terms of Lee's (1915) genetic units to a standard four-fold section in the Rock Springs uplift consisting from oldest to youngest of the Blair, Rock Springs, Ericson, and Almond formations.

Data from 14 measured surface sections and more than 120 wells were used to make isopach maps of individual formations, members and tongues. These maps show that basins and relative arches of Late Cretaceous time correspond fairly well with those of Tertiary time and that the maximum thickness of a genetic unit is at the zone of transition from continental to marine sedimentation.

Numerous minor transgressions and regressions of the sea are imposed on a general eastward regression during Mesaverde time followed by a major transgression during Lewis time and a complete withdrawal of the sea after Lewis time.

There are numerous cyclothems consisting of gray marine shale, tan marine siltstone and sandstone, gray and white beach sandstone, coal, brown carbonaceous shale, and gray to brown carbonaceous siltstone. Both transgressive and regressive deposits are present.

Two probable controls of intertonguing are recognized: (1) intermittent delivery of sand and mud by streams along a subsiding delta front and reworking by marine currents; (2) several rather rapid changes of sealevel or landlevel, either tectonic or eustatic.

Most of the sediments were derived from areas west of the "Wasatch line." Toward the close of Mesaverde deposition, local uplifts in the site of the present Uinta Mountains and possibly the Wind River Mountain provided a source for sediments.

Short-ranging fossils are scarce in the Mesaverde group in this area. The marine shale tongues generally contain long-ranging arenaceous foraminifera and the marine sandstones contain Ostrea sp., Inoceramus sp., Halymenites major and worm tubes; the faunas are useful as indicators of paleoenvironments, but are not useful for stratigraphic correlations.

No new formation names are proposed. Several unnamed sequences should be mapped and traced laterally before they are named. The Lazeart sandstone is raised from member to formational rank. The Rimrock sandstone and the Asphalt Ridge sandstone of Walton (1944) are considered members of the Iles formation.

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