Abstract

The Cretaceous Etjo Formation is a 200-m-thick eolian and fluvial sandstone succession exposed in the Huab Basin of northwestern Namibia. Eolian sedimentation was terminated abruptly by the emplacement of flood basalts of the Etendeka igneous province across much of the basin at 132 ± 1 Ma. The lavas “drowned” the dunes and, in doing so, preserved bed forms with heights and wavelengths of up to 100 m and 1.3 km, respectively. Subsequent erosion has resulted in the exposure of these bed forms and provides a rare opportunity to accurately reconstruct the three-dimensional geometry of an ancient eolian system and to relate bed-form morphology to bounding-surface geometries. Some bed forms lacked a single active slipface but instead were characterized by a dome form over which smaller transverse dunes migrated. Other bed forms were characterized by an active slipface and a stoss slope over which smaller, superimposed bed forms migrated. One bed form records a transitional evolution between these two end-member types. Preserved bed sets exhibit a positive (but stoss-erosional) angle of downwind bed-form climb of 1°. Bed forms of the Etjo Formation provide an opportunity to directly relate bed-set thickness to original bed-form height via the angle of climb.

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