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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Journal of Sedimentary Research (SEPM)


Journal of Sedimentary Research
Vol. 88 (2018), No. 12. (December), Pages 1381-1412
DOI: 10.2110/jsr.2018.72

Rethinking the Incised-Valley Fill Paradigm For Campanian Previous HitBookNext Hit Cliffs Strata, Utah–Colorado, U.S.A.: Evidence For Discrete Parasequence-Scale, Shoreface-Incised Channel Fills

Simon A.J. Pattison


The conventional sequence Previous HitstratigraphicNext Hit model of large-scale incised-valley fills floored by third-order sequence boundaries is inappropriate for most of the Campanian Previous HitBookNext Hit Cliffs strata, Utah–Colorado, including the Desert Member to Lower Castlegate Sandstone Previous HitstratigraphicNext Hit interval. Shoreface-incised, parasequence-scale, deltaic river-dominated distributaries, tidally influenced distributaries, terminal distributaries, and/or tidal–estuarine channels are ubiquitous. These do not coalesce into sequence-scale incised-valley fills. There are no basinward shifts of facies across regionally mappable sequence boundaries, no sediment bypass with concomitant development of detached falling-stage and lowstand shoreface–deltaic sand bodies, and no incised-valley fill deposits in the Desert–Castlegate interval. Shoreface-incised channels occur in the uppermost proximal parts of most Desert–Castlegate parasequences, not just the parasequence-set top, as predicted by conventional models. Shoreface-incised channel fills are temporally and spatially linked to the laterally adjoining nearshore terrestrial and shallow marine facies belts, as demonstrated by correlation of coal beds and flooding surfaces. Parasequence-scale interfingering of nearshore terrestrial and shallow marine facies belts are common, with thin packages of channels, coal-bearing coastal plain with associated white-capped foreshore–shoreface sandstones, and flat-topped, rooted foreshore sandstones along most parasequence tops. Multiple, parasequence-scale, shoreface-incised channel fills are often lumped together and miscorrelated as sequence-scale incised-valley fills. Similar shoreface-incised channels occur at a variety of parasequence levels in all other members of the Blackhawk Formation. An alternative sequence Previous HitstratigraphicNext Hit model showing temporally and spatially linked, laterally adjoining, nearshore terrestrial and shallow marine facies belts is the best fit for the Campanian Previous HitBookTop Cliffs strata. This model should be widely applicable to similar nearshore terrestrial and shallow marine settings worldwide. The alternative correlation style generates significantly different predictions of sand-body continuity, connectivity, and distribution. Applications to modeling and predicting subsurface hydrocarbon and fresh-water reservoirs are anticipated.

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