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Abstract

Prograding shoreline deposits are used in this chapter to further illustrate the interpretation of primary structures and their sequence. Two main points are:

  1. 1.

    Structures in complex environments with waves, tides, and shifting currents can be interpreted in part from concepts presented in Chapters 2 and 3. But some of the primary structures are quite different and cannot be directly related to process on the basis of existing flume or wave tank experiments.

  2. 2.

    Stratigraphic position and facies sequence provide some general environmental constraints which can be used to infer the hydro-dynamic conditions that produce these poorly understood structures. For example, the vertical succession through a deposit formed by a prograding shoreline should be related to progressive depth and process change observed along modern shoreline profiles. Carefully used, these inferences about environmental and hydro-dynamic constraints can add to our understanding of primary sedimentary structures.

Shoreline and nearshore deposits are well represented in the geologic record. In keeping with the purpose and scope of this course, we shall discuss only a few examples that we believe to have common occurrence and broad application. The three types of prograding shoreline deposits we have chosen contrast mainly in dominant grain size. The first example is that of shoreline sediments composed of very fine or fine sand, drawn mainly from Upper Cretaceous deposits of the Western Interior of the USA. The second example is one of shoreface deposits containing significant quantities of

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