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Stratification Styles in Eolian Sandstones: Some Pennsylvanian to Jurassic Examples from the Western Interior U.S.A.

Ralph E. Hunter
Ralph E. Hunter
U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo ParkCalifornia 94025 (U.S.A.)
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January 01, 1981


Most of the the basic types of stratification that occur in modern dune sands have been identified in Pennsylvanian to Jurassic crossbedded sandstones of the western interior United States that are generally considered eolian. The most common types are sandflow cross-stratification (formed by the avalanching of sand down slipfaces), subcritically climbing translatent stratification (formed by wind ripples), and grainfall lamination (formed by the settling out of grains in zones of flow separation). A common type of stratification formed by poorly understood processes on damp or ponded interdune fiats is characterized by irregular small-scale waviness.

Identification of the basic types of stratification in a sand body has several uses. Eolian and subaqueous sands may be distinguished by certain types of stratification, especially by the types occurring in climbing-ripple structures. More sophisticated paleocurrent determinations can be made when the type of stratification is known. Knowledge of the type of stratification can be used to estimate the initial porosity; such porosity estimates help in the analysis of sand compaction and pre-lithification deformation. The occurrence and distribution of the basic types of stratification are useful clues in interpreting dune size, dune morphology, dune orientation relative to the wind direction, and the reasons for the typically low dip angles of eolian cross-strata in the lower parts of sets.

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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
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Publication date:
January 01, 1981




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