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The Paleocene Fort Union Formation crops out in the vicinity of the Bison basin, approximately equidistant from the southeast terminus of the Wind River Range and the southwestern edge of the Granite Mountains uplift in central Wyoming. Early Laramide tectonic activity produced a series of uplifts north of the area forming a platform separating the Wind River and Great Divide basins. During middle to late Paleocene, aggrading fluvial systems flowing southward, rapidly deposited a sequence of thin, lenticular conglomerates and medium to coarse-grained planar-bedded sandstones in braided and anastomosing stream channels and carbonaceous overbank silt and claystones. Subaerially exposed interchannel areas developed cyclic pedogenic horizons. Early diagenetic cementation pres rved tubular burrows and rhizoliths as well as impressions of fruits, nuts, leaves, and wood. Anomalous silicic cementation of mudstone, sandstone, and conglomerates probably are silcrete soil horizons developed in a warm temperate to subtropical humid climate.
The sandstones are multicyclic containing fragments of preexisting siliceous sedimentary rocks (e.g., Tensleep Sandstone, Mowry Shale, and cherts from the Madison, Morrison, and Phosphoria Formations). Reworked glauconite is locally abundant in some Fort Union sandstones, reflecting the proximity of Paleozoic sources. Altered and embayed feldspars are present in trace amounts throughout most of the section, but significant accumulations of fresh feldspar are present near the top, indicating unroofing of Precambrian source before the Eocene.
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