Setting and Architectural Elements of the Champsaur Sandstones, France
R. L. Brunt, W. D. McCaffrey, R. H. Butler, 2008. "Setting and Architectural Elements of the Champsaur Sandstones, France", Atlas of Deep-Water Outcrops, Tor H. Nilsen, Roger D. Shew, Gary S. Steffens, Joseph R. J. Studlick
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The champsaur outlier preserves a remnant of a subbasin, which formed part of the regional Alpine foreland basin. The champsaur now forms part of the external western Alps, preserved in a broad east-west-trending syncline, the northern limb of which uncon-formably overlies the southwest margin of the crystalline Pelvoux massif. The southern margin of the basin is not preserved. Grès du champsaur stratigraphy consists of an autochthonous unit that is overlain to the east by two further thrust-bound units of successively younger turbidites, these are sourced from the southeast (Figure 1). The detail in this paper refers exclusively to the autochthonous Grès du champsaur. Northeast-directed gravity currents entered the champsaur basin and continued down the easterly dipping axial slope. Deposition was confined to the north by the east-west-trending southern flank of the Pelvoux massif. Ongoing burial of lateral slopes and early basin-floor topography contributes to the observed changes in paleoflow dispersal and system architecture. Key architectural surfaces were correlated and three-dimensionally mapped throughout the champsaur, facilitating the development of an architectural model. The model was used to divide the Grès du champsaur into three distinct stratigraphic units based on sedimentary characteristics >and turbidite architecture (McCaffrey et al., 2002) in order to analyze spatial variations in sedimentary facies and architecture.
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Tor H. Nilsen, a red-haired Scandinavian who stood more than six feet tall, died October 9, 2005, at his San Carlos, California, home. This was after a valiant five-year fight with melanoma cancer. He was 63. His ashes were scattered at his family plot in Norway in 2006.
He was born in New York City on November 29, 1941, to Mollie Abrahamson and Nils Marius Nilsen of Mandal, Norway, and was the first of their children to be born in the United States. After graduating from Brooklyn Tech, he earned his B.S. in geology from City College of New York in 1962. While there, his prowess on the basketball court impressed a scout from the New York Knicks, but Tor went on to graduate school and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1964 and 1967, respectively. His M.S. thesis was a study of Precambrian metasedimentary deposits in the Lake Superior area, and his Ph.D. thesis was a study of Devonian alluvial-fan deposits of the Old Red Sandstone in western Norway.
Dr. Nilsen’s principal expertise was in depositional systems analysis, stratigraphic analysis, and the relationships among tectonics, eustasy, and sedimentation. He began his industry career in 1967 as a research geologist with the Shell Development Company in Houston, Texas, and Ventura, California, where he worked on the tectonics and sedimentation of Tertiary shelf systems of coastal California. He subsequently spent two years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the Military