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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Utah Geological Association


Henry Mountains Symposium, 1980
Pages 151-170

Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, and Regional Relationships of the Cretaceous System in the Henry Mountains Region, Utah

Fred Peterson, R. T. Ryder, B. E. Law


Marine and continental rocks of the Cretaceous System in the Henry Mountains region total about 3,300-4,300 ft in thickness and were deposited during four transgressive-regressive cycles when the western shoreline of the Western Interior seaway advanced and retreated across the region. The Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation consists entirely of continental strata, as marine waters of the seaway did not enter Utah at this time. The first transgressive-regressive cycle in the Henry Mountains region occurred early in Late Cretaceous time during deposition of continental and marine strata of the Dakota Sandstone and overlying Tununk Shale and Ferron Sandstone Members of the Mancos Shale. A regional unconformity separates the Ferron from the overlying offshore marine Blue Gate Shale Member of the Mancos Shale.

Correlations to the nearby Kaiparowits and Wasatch Plateaus indicate that the Blue Gate was deposited during two transgressive-regressive cycles when the shoreline probably advanced to within 10-20 miles of the Henry Mountains region. The “Emery” Sandstone and Masuk Members of the Mancos Shale and the “Mesaverde” Formation, all deposited in nearshore marine and continental environments, were deposited during the regressive phase of the last of these two cycles. Regional correlations suggest that the overlying continental beds on Tarantula Mesa were deposited during another cycle when the strandline approached but did not enter the region. Regional relationships also suggest that the end of this cycle marked the final retreat of the strandline from central Utah.

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