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Abstract

In Chapters 5 and 6 of these notes, we have emphasized the increasing difficulty of direct interpretation of facies in environments where unidirectional flow of water over a sandy bed (Chapter 2) becomes less and less important. In this chapter, we will focus on a little studied lithology--conglomerate--and attempt to establish facies models for three different types. We can no longer refer either to the experimental results of Chapter 2, or to the individual sedimentary structures discussed in Chapter 3. To begin, we will therefore examine the possible descriptive features of conglomerate that could be used in a facies analysis, and make some interpretations of those features. We use the term conglomerate to include consolidated and semiconsolidated deposits with mean sizes in the granule, pebble, cobble, and boulder range, although our emphasis will be on the coarser (cobble and boulder) deposits.

There are relatively few modern environments in which conglomerate is accumulating, and where there is some chance of preservation. The main environments are: (1) alluvial fans, (2) braided rivers, (3) shorelines, (4) deep sea submarine fans, and (5) glacially-influenced environments (marine and nonmarine) where till is deposited. Facies models for environments of conglomerate deposition are poorly developed, mainly because of the general absence of a descriptive framework--that is, there is little agreement as to the features that must be observed and recorded in outcrops of conglomerate. This is highlighted when one considers the comparative abundance of descriptive features in

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