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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Special Volumes


Chapter from: M 64:  Sequence Stratigraphy of Foreland Basin Deposits
Edited By 
J.C. Van Wagoner and G.T. Bertram

Dag Nummedal and C. M. Molenaar

Seismic/Sequence Stratigraphy

Published 1995 as part of Memoir 64
Copyright © 1995 The American Association of Petroleum Geologists.  All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 9


Sequence Stratigraphy of Ramp-Setting
Strand Plain Successions: The Gallup Sandstone, New Mexico

Dag Nummedal

Department of Geology and Geophysics

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A. 

C. M. Molenaar*

U.S. Geological Survey

Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.



The Gallup Sandstone of northwestern New Mexico is a northeastward-prograding clastic wedge of late Turonian to earliest Coniacian (Late Cretaceous) age that pinches out about in the middle of the San Juan basin. Paleoenvironmental and sequence stratigraphic studies indicate that the Gallup is dominated by strand plain successions (tongues) that prograded across a gently dipping ramp during repeated episodes of relative sea level fall. These episodes were superimposed on a long-term (about 1.2 m.y.) phase of relative sea level rise that controlled the overall forestepping and aggradational stacking pattern of the tongues. The total stratigraphic rise of all six Gallup tongues is about 120 m.

The Gallup is divided into chronostratigraphically significant packages that are bounded by mappable surfaces of erosion and their downdip conformities. Outcrop studies present incontrovertible evidence, for at least three of the Gallup tongues, that two concurrent erosional surfaces formed during sea level falls in this ramp setting. The lower erosion surface forms a sharp base of the shoreface and is referred to as a regressive surface of marine erosion. This erosion surface generally correlates with conformities both updip and downdip. The upper surface commonly juxtaposes estuarine and fluvial sandstone on truncated shoreface successions and is referred to as a regressive surface of subaerial erosion. We consider this upper surface to be the sequence boundary. The strata between these two erosion surfaces belong to the falling stage systems tract. The sequence boundary climbs stratigraphic section (relative to the base of overlying shale) from landward to seaward and becomes a conformity near the position of the lowstand shoreline. 


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