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Crinkle cracks in the Proterozoic Piegan Group, Belt Supergroup, Montana and Idaho: A descriptive style of sand-filled cracks hypothetically formed by subaqueous solitary-like waves

By
Don Winston
Don Winston
Professor Emeritus, Geoscience Department, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812, USA
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Shane V. Smith
Shane V. Smith
School of Environmental & Sustainability Sciences, Kean University, Union, New Jersey 07083, USA
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Published:
September 01, 2016

Crinkle cracks are sand-filled cracks up to 5 mm wide in plan view that pinch at their ends. In cross section, they are canted and crinkled. They cut mudstone beds that underlie hummocky cross-laminated sandstone lenses. They are here described from the Piegan Group, Proterozoic Belt Supergroup, but they are widespread in Proterozoic and Phanerozoic marine and lacustrine rocks. However, they represent a distinctive, descriptive style of mudcracks, not attributed to inferred syneresis processes, although they have been commonly attributed to syneresis. In plan view, crinkle cracks closely resemble cracks formed where oscillatory waves striking viscous mud banks are transformed into fluid solitary-like waves that open surface cracks on their trailing limbs and close the cracks on their leading limbs as they pass through the viscous mud. Crinkle cracks preserved in rocks are hypothetically attributed to oscillatory waves moving sand over viscous mud. The oscillatory waves are transformed into solitary-like waves as they pass down into the mud, forming the cracks. The surface sand falls down into the cracks, preserving them. With burial, the water escapes, and the viscous mud compacts, crinkling the sand-filled cracks.

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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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