Abstract: 

This study evaluates the nature and internal complexity of high-frequency fluvial aggradational cycles and linked paleosols that were previously not recognized in nonmarine sequences of the Turonian Ferron Notom Delta in Central Utah. Detailed facies analysis of the ∼ 33-meter-thick youngest nonmarine sequence (Sequence 1) reveals 11 depositional facies that build 33 fluvial aggradational cycles, 9 fluvial aggradation cycles sets, and 3 sequences, in what was previously classified as a single 100 ka, 4th- or 5th-order sequence. Fluvial aggradation cycles in the succession are either simple floodplain bedsets or single channel stories that are bounded by paleosols or erosional surfaces. They represent depositional events that likely do not span more than 2 ka. Depositional periods are followed by short hiati (10 to < 400 a) characterized by subaerial exposure, and soil development, possibly reflecting floodplain abandonment or short-term river avulsions. Fluvial aggradational cycle sets show systematic stacking of fluvial aggradational cycles, and are analogous to parasequence sets. They are represented by either compound floodplain bedsets or multi-story channel sandstones, bounded by relatively mature paleosols or erosionally top-truncated. They represent multiple small-scale depositional events that span not more than 14 ka followed by relatively long (100 a to < 1 ka) hiati, characterized by subaerial exposure and soil development, which suggest a relationship to longer-term floodplain abandonment, due to either longer-term avulsion or fluvial entrenchment during base-level falls. Fluvial aggradational cycle sets are often capped by coals and carbonaceous strata. Marine trace fossils and dinocysts above coal beds suggest marine transgression due to compactional subsidence or sea-level rise. The scale of cyclicity of the fluvial aggradation cycle sets (14 ka) is similar to underlying marine parasequences (10 to 15 ka) and suggests that nonmarine and marine cycles have a similar control. Fluvial sequences are aggregates of fluvial aggradational cycle sets that are bounded by unconformities or their correlative conformities that represent longer periods (1 to 5 ka) of subaerial exposure and pedogenic development. Cyclicity on the sequence scale in this succession is attributed to high-frequency Milankovitch-scale (∼ 20 ka, 40 ka) rises and falls in sea level.

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