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Shallow marine strata of the Campanian Kenilworth Member, cropping out in the Book Cliffs of east-central Utah, were examined from their updip to downdip depositional limits. Thirty-one outcrop sections were measured recording facies, stratal surfaces, and paleoflow indicators. These data were used to interpret the depositional environments and to develop a chronostratigraphic framework for the Kenilworth. The geometry of stratal surfaces and the continuity of sandstones were traced between measured sections using binoculars and photographic panoramas of cliff exposures.
A variety of depositional environments were identified in the Kenilworth including fluvial channels, coastal plain, foreshore, shoreface, offshore transition/offshore marine and deltaic. The vertical and lateral associations of these depositional environments indicate the presence of several parasequences separated by regionally correlative marine-flooding surfaces.
Five wave-dominated shoreline parasequences were recognized, each with a north-south to northwest-southeast paleoshoreline orientation. The oldest four parasequences are stacked as a progradational parasequence set and are interpreted to be part of the highstand systems tract. A regional erosional surface overlies the highstand systems tract and east-west trending fluvial channel systems incise into the underlying shoreface deposits. The erosional surface was traced basinward where deltaic deposits occur above a coarse-grained lag. The extensive erosional surface is interpreted to be a sequence boundary which formed in response to a relative sea-level fall. The coarse-grained lag and deltaic deposits in the basin are interpreted to be part of the lowstand systems tract. A major floodi g surface occurs above the lowstand and was traced updip beneath a backstepped wave-dominated shoreline parasequence of the transgressive systems tract.
Sandstones of the Kenilworth Member are thus interpreted to comprise parts of two high-frequency sequences. A sequence boundary occurs within the Kenilworth and separates the highstand systems tract of an older sequence from the lowstand and transgressive systems tract of a younger sequence. The sequence boundary can be recognized by changes in parasequence stacking patterns, regionally extensive erosional truncation, and a basinward shift of facies. The magnitude of the relative sea-level fall that occurred during deposition of the Kenilworth is estimated to be at least 60 feet, based on the amount of fluvial channel incision observed at the sequence boundary. This magnitude of relative sea-level fall resulted in a basinward shift in facies of about 10 miles. The resultant paleoslope is interpreted to be 0.07 degrees, which is comparable to depositional slopes on the present day Gulf of Mexico shelf.
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