Abstract

A preliminary study of drill cores of blebby and streaked oil shale from the Green River Formation (Eocene) in the deep northern part of the Piceance Creek Basin, Colorado, shows sedimentary structures that suggest deposition by turbidity currents. This type of oil shale composes about one-half of the oil-shale deposits at the saline depocenter of Eocene Lake Uinta where it is interbedded with the well-known laminated type of oil shale described previously in the literature.

Episodic and rapid deposition by lake-bottom currents of large amounts of carbonate-silicate sediments that formed high-grade oil shale is a new concept for the origin of a major part of the Green River oil-shale deposits. In contrast, the laminated oil shale, as previously described, accumulated very slowly as thin varves in a chemically stratified lake under stagnant conditions.

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