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Book Chapter

Sedimentary Features and Significance of Interdune Deposits

Thomas S. Ahlbrandt
Thomas S. Ahlbrandt
1376 South Perry Park Road, Sedalia, Colo. 80135
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Steven G. Fryberger
Steven G. Fryberger
Research Institute, University of Petroleum and MineralsP.O. Box 144, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
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January 01, 1981


Interdunes occur between dunes in most dune fields, but they have not been adequately studied. Our preliminary work indicates that interdunes among dunes formed in unimodal wind regimes are fundamentally different than interdunes among dunes formed in bimodal or complex wind regimes. The mechanism of alternate dune and interdune development producing lenticular, diachronous and relatively thin (<2 meters) interdune deposits among unimodal dunes (McKee and Moiola, 1975) is strongly supported in our experience. However, interdune deposits among dunes formed in bimodal or complex wind regimes, i.e. linear and star dunes respectively, seem to be thicker and more areally extensive than among unimodal dune regimes.

Interdunes broadly can be classed as deflationary or depositional; these in turn can each be informally subdivided, based upon water content, into dry, wet and evaporite interdunes. Sedimentary features of each type based on dune fields studied principally in the United States and Saudi Arabia, and eolianites in the western United States, are discussed and illustrated. Many interdune deposits are virtually structureless due to secondary processes.

Ancient interdune or sabkha deposits are important for several reasons: (1) they may form barriers to effective fluid migration in hydrocarbon reservoirs or isolate productive intervals; (2) they may be potential hydrocarbon sources; (3) they may be a source of minerals and trace elements; and (4) they may serve as faunal, floral or reference horizons within eolianites.

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SEPM Special Publication

Recent and Ancient Nonmarine Depositional Environments: Models for Exploration

Frank G. Ethridge
Frank G. Ethridge
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Romeo M. Flores
Romeo M. Flores
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 1981




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