Abstract

High-resolution sedimentologic, paleontologic, and stratigraphic data were collected for three Cenomanian-Turonian skeletal limestone packages in the Western Interior basin. Results of the study have significant implications for sequence stratigraphy in fine-grained basinal facies. (1) Skeletal limestones represent calcareous tempestites deposited at or near storm wave base, and their stratigraphic distribution provides a constraint on paleobathymetry. (2) Skeletal limestones are widely traceable and can be correlated to coeval progradational/retrogradational shoreface deposits, placing them in a relative sea-level context. (3) Skeletal limestone origin can be described by a comprehensive depositional model. The model incorporates effects of winnowing/erosion on relative fall, and sediment starvation/condensation on subsequent rise, relating both to the absence of an effective depositional gradient. (4) Application of the model suggests a reinterpretation of relative sea-level history for the Cenomanian-Turonian in the Western Interior that is better constrained than previous estimates.

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