Unconformities, by definition, correspond to erosional or nondepositional surfaces, which separate older strata below, from younger rocks above, encapsulating significant time gaps. However, recent studies have highlighted the composite nature of some unconformities, as well as their heterochronous and diachronous character, which challenge the use of such a definition in a four-dimensional dynamic environment. The J-3 Unconformity, separating the Middle Jurassic Entrada Sandstone from the Upper Jurassic Curtis Formation (and laterally equivalent units) in east-central Utah (USA), is laterally variable, generated by either erosion-related processes such as eolian deflation, and water-induced erosion, or by deformational processes. The J-3 Unconformity is a composite surface, formed by numerous processes that interacted and overlapped spatially and temporally. This study therefore demonstrates the heterochronous, diachronous, and non-unique nature of this surface interpreted as unconformity, where one process can be represented by varying expressions in the stratigraphic record, and conversely many processes may result in the same stratigraphic expression.

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