Abstract

The upper Couch Formation is part of the lower of two formations composing the Ogallala Group in Blanco and Yellowhouse canyons in northwestern Texas. An eolian origin for the upper Couch Formation is indicated by its mean grain size, pedogenic carbonate nodules, massive bedding, and blanketlike morphology. The unit conforms poorly to the usual eolian depositional models; it resulted from a combination of the processes involved in loess and sand-sheet formation. Grassland or savanna vegetation probably existed over the area and aided in sediment trapping. Vertebrates are unusual in eolian units, but the adaptations and mode of preservation of those in the upper Couch Formation also support an eolian interpretation. This and other widespread silty sand sheets in the Ogallala indicate major fluctuations in depositional style, possibly climatically controlled. Lateral continuity and preservation of vertebrates give silty sand sheets great potential as correlation tools.

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