Abstract

In the middle Green River Formation of central Nine Mile Canyon, Uinta Basin, Utah, several lacustrine-dominated intervals ∼10 m thick comprise aggradational carbonate parasequence sets and a progradational clastic parasequence. Maximum flooding surfaces are best identified within profundal oil shale that caps some of the clastic parasequences. These lacustrine transgressive systems tracts therefore exhibit parasequence stacking patterns unlike typical marine sequences. Two types of sequence boundary are identified. Type A sequence boundaries display evidence for a basinward shift in facies across a regionally mappable surface that is an angular or, rarely, parallel unconformity, and they typically juxtapose amalgamated braided fluvial channel sandstone (late lowstand systems tract) onto the profundal oil shale. They also bound depositional sequences that show a distinct asymmetry, being dominated by transgressive systems tracts 5-80 m thick. Highstand systems tracts are less than 4 m thick and may be removed completely, by erosion on overlying sequence boundaries. Other surfaces satisfy only some of the standard criteria of sequence boundaries and are termed type B sequence boundaries.

Type A sequence boundaries mark pronounced base-level falls following times when the Uinta Lake had merged with a lake in an adjacent basin to form a much deeper lake. Such merging permitted the establishment of a new threshold at higher elevation following lake-level balancing. Type B sequence boundaries are interpreted as marking base-level falls from a barely merged lake or a lake that had an outflow. Over a 200 m stratigraphic thickness, type A sequence boundaries are more common upsection, indicating that, with time, a pluvial climate became more pronounced or that the adjacent lake was more easily filled. Type A sequence boundaries also become angular rather than parallel unconformities upsection, suggesting increased tilting of the basin margin over time.

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