This study addresses the field-scale architecture and dimensions of fluvial deposits of the lower Williams Fork Formation through analysis of outcrops in Coal Canyon, Piceance Basin, Colorado. The lower Williams Fork Formation primarily consists of mud rock with numerous isolated, lenticular to channel-form sandstone bodies that were deposited by meandering river systems within a coastal-plain setting. Field descriptions, global positioning system traverses, and a combination of high-resolution aerial light detection and ranging data, digital orthophotography, and ground-based photomosaics were used to map and document the abundance, stratigraphic position, and dimensions of single-story and multistory channel bodies and crevasse splays.
The mean thickness and apparent width of the 688 measured sandstone bodies are 12.1 ft (3.7 m) and 364.9 ft (111.2 m), respectively. Single-story sandstone bodies ( N = 116) range in thickness from 3.9 to 29.9 ft (1.2 to 9.1 m) and from 44.1 to 1699.8 ft (13.4 to 518.1 m) in apparent width. Multistory sandstone bodies ( N = 273) range in thickness from 5.0 to 47.1 ft (1.5 to 14.4 m) and from 53.2 to 2791.1 ft (16.2 to 850.7 m) in apparent width. Crevasse splays ( N = 279) range in thickness from 0.5 to 15.0 ft (0.2 to 4.6 m) and from 40.1 to 843.3 ft (12.2 to 257.0 m) in apparent width.
These data show that most sandstone bodies are smaller than the distance between wells at 10-ac spacing (660 ft [201 m]). Analyses of interwell sandstone-body connectivity suggest that even at 10-ac spacing, only half of the sandstone bodies are intersected and few are intersected by more than one well.