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The Colorado Plateau in the southwestern United States is within the Paleozoic transcontinental arch, an area of thin, cratonic strata. The plateau was broken by latest Mississippian to early Permian Ancestral Rocky Mountain orogenesis, which produced bedrock uplifts that influenced lower Mesozoic sedimentation before Jurassic burial. Clastic sediments shed from uplifts interfinger with eolian Permian strata ultimately derived from eastern Laurentia. Triassic and Jurassic strata of the Colorado Plateau are here divided into five depositional systems, each representing a different sedimentary and tectonic setting and forming stratal associations referred to as “deposystems.” The five deposystems, which largely but not...

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