Kaiparowits Basin Stratigraphy

Summary:

This work was completed in 1995 as part of a Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Colorado – Boulder.  A 2-km-thick, highly-detailed section was measured in the northern part of the Kaiparowits Basin between Henrieville Creek and Canaan Peak to identify the vertical distribution of facies and facies associations.  Significant beds and intervals were followed to document lateral variations.  Depositional models were developed for the lower and upper John Henry and Drip Tank Members of the Straight Cliffs Formation, for the lower, middle, upper, and capping members of the Wahweap Formation, the lower, middle, and upper members of the Kaiparowits Formation, and the Canaan Peak Formation.  Three depositional cycles were identified, the lowermost of which demonstrates some marine influence, with the upper two being entirely continental in character.  These are believed to be tied to major tectonic episodes in the Sevier Thrust Belt.

The major contributions of this study are: 1) a highly-detailed (cm-scale) measured and sampled section for Upper Cretaceous strata of the northern Kaiparowits Basin (Samples are now housed at the Utah Geological Society Core Research Center.) , 2) refined depositional models for each member (formal and informal) of this succession, 3) identification of the cyclical nature of these deposits, 4) considerations of the relative influence of tectonics and eustasy in the formation of terrestrial stratigraphic sequences, 5) an early attempt to apply sequence stratigraphic concepts to continental deposits, and 6) an alternative interpretation of the position, nature, and cause of sequence boundaries in depositional sequences dominated by alluvial sedimentation.

Below are links to pertinent documents related to the study, including the Ph.D. dissertation (1995), a symposium volume paper (1997), an oral presentation to the Rocky Mountain Section of AAPG (2007), and a poster presented at a Rocky Mountain Section meeting of GSA (2006).  Because of continued interest in the project and recent urging from friends and colleagues, I am working on an updated manuscript for formal publication.  Its very rough draft is also linked below.

Publication Links:

Little, W. W., in progress., The Influence of Tectonics and Eustasy on the Alluvial Architecture and Sequence Stratigraphy of foreland Basins, Cenomanian through Campanian Strata of the Kaiparowits Basin, Utah (Manuscript)

This is a manuscript I began several years ago and did not finished.  I have recently resurrected the project and intend to make submission for publication within the upcoming months.  This document does not include the figures.

Little, W. W., 1997, Tectonic and Eustatic Controls on Cyclical Fluvial Patterns, Upper Cretaceous Strata of the Kaiparowits Basin, Utah:  in L.M. Hill and J. J. Koselak (eds.), Learning from the Land:  Scientific Inquiry for Planning and Managing the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Symposium, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Washington, D.C., p. 489-504. (Paper)

This was an invited paper for the first scientific conference pertaining to the creation of the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

Presentation Links:

Little, W.W., 2007, Using Alluvial Architecture to Define Stratigraphic Sequences in Foreland Basins, Upper Cretaceous Strata of the Kaiparowits Basin, Utah: Abstracts and Program for the 2007 Rocky Mountain Section Meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Snowbird, UT.  (Abstract)  (Expanded PowerPoint Presentation)

Little, W.W., 2006, Sequence stratigraphy of foredeep basin alluvial deposits, Coniacian through Campanian strata of the Kaiparowits Basin, Utah: Abstracts with Program for the 2006 Rocky Mountain Section Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Gunnison, CO. (Abstract)  (Poster)

Perkes, T.L. & Little, W.W., 2007, Petrographic Analysis of Campanian Sandstones, Kaiparowits Formation, South-central Utah: Abstracts and Program for the 2007 Rocky Mountain Section Meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Snowbird, UT.  (Abstract) (Poster)

Ph.D. Dissertation Link:

Little, W.W., 1995, The Influence of Tectonics and Eustasy on Alluvial Architecture, Middle Coniacian Through Campanian Strata of the Kaiparowits Basin, South-Central Utah: unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Colorado-Boulder, 326 p. (Dissertation)

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