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Sheetflood sedimentology of the Mesoproterozoic Revett Formation, Belt Supergroup, northwestern Montana, USA

By
Don Winston
Don Winston
Professor Emeritus, Geoscience Department, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59821, USA
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Published:
September 01, 2016

The ca. 1.460 Ga Revett Formation is a gray and purple quartzite lithosome in northwestern Montana, and it interfingers eastward into red argillite of the Grinnell Formation in Glacier National Park. The Revett Formation was analyzed in northwestern Montana by identifying sedimentary structures in stratigraphic sections and by interpreting flow processes of the structures using the standard flow regime model (e.g., Simons et al., 1965). The sedimentary structures and thicknesses of the event beds were then organized into eight sediment types (lithofacies) that were grouped into three sediment complexes: the playa complex, the antidune complex, and the sheet sand complex. The arrangements of the sediment types and complexes within the stratigraphic framework of the lower informal Revett member indicated the configurations of the depositional environments in space, and the vertical configurations of the sediment types revealed the depositional history of the lower Revett member.

The lower Revett member lithosome interfingers eastward into the red argillite of the Grinnell Formation lithosome, and has eight through-going descriptive, stacked, lithic units, called lithostromes. Lithostromes 2, 4, 6, and 8 (from the bottom up) are composed of the sheet sand complex and extend into playa complexes of the Grinnell Formation. They were deposited by sandy sheetfloods that flowed at grade and terminated as the water sank into the sand substrate.

Between lithostromes 2, 4, 6, and 8 are lithostromes marked by playa lakes of the playa complex that spread from the east across western Montana during humid periods. They were overlain by sheetfloods of the antidune complex that built eastward over the playa complex as the playa lakes retreated with increasing aridity. The antidune complex was overlain by the sheet sand complex of a vast sand plain deposited by sheetfloods from the southwest that flowed at grade level across western Montana during arid periods.

The sheetflood deposits of the Revett Formation were mostly deposited by the upper-flow regime element of the established fluvial facies model.

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GSA Special Papers

Belt Basin: Window to Mesoproterozoic Earth

John S. MacLean
John S. MacLean
Department of Physical Science, Southern Utah University, 351 W. University Boulevard, Cedar City, Utah 84720, USA
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James W. Sears
James W. Sears
Department of Geosciences, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive #1296, Missoula, Montana 59812-1296, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
522
ISBN print:
9780813725222
Publication date:
September 01, 2016

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