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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 1008

Last Page: 1008

Title: Stratigraphy and Paleobiology of Late Cretaceous "Fossil Forest," San Juan Basin, New Mexico: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Donald L. Wolberg, Adrian Hunt, J. Keith Rigby, Jr.

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Exposures of the Fruitland Formation in the Bisti badlands contain an abundant fossil flora and fauna of Late Cretaceous age. Proposed development of Fruitland coal reserves has increased the need for adequate paleontologic data for mitigation purposes and has resulted in a cooperative investigation of a Fruitland "fossil forest" in the area of Split Lip Flats, south of Farmington, New Mexico.

The exposed stratigraphic sequence consists of approximately 26 m of interbedded shales, siltstones, channel sandstones, carbonaceous shales, and coal; the uppermost 5 m is probably part of the Lower Shale Member of the Kirtland Formation. The beds are laterally discontinuous although the carbonaceous shales and coal have greater lateral extent.

At least two, and possibly three, levels of in-situ tree stumps, fallen logs up to 20 m in length, and several leaf localities occur. Preliminary analysis indicates the presence of Taxodium, Sequoia, and palm. Within the study area, channel sandstones and mudstones have produced a large assemblage of turtles, lizards, crocodiles, and dinosaurs including ankylosaurs, hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, and carnosaurs. Fossil mammals, including multituberculates, marsupials, and insectivores, have been found at two sites in clay-pebble conglomerates. Mollusk-rich beds occur at three stratigraphic levels.

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