Facies of the Permian Lyons Sandstone are described and interpreted based on analyses of 23 cores from Larimer and Weld counties, Colorado. Here, the Lyons Sandstone consists of very fine- to medium-grained sandstone with minor silt and mudstone interbeds. The unit has five recurrent siliciclastic facies that can be grouped into two facies associations (FA). FA1 consists of (1) high-angle, cross-laminated sandstone (Facies 1; interpreted as eolian dune remnants); (2) low-angle, cross-laminated and horizontally laminated sandstone (Facies 2; interdune); and (3) chaotically bedded to folded sandstone (Facies 3; lower dune flanks). FA2, in contrast, is mainly (4) wavy- to irregularly laminated silty sandstone (Facies 4; wet to damp interdune); and (5) massive to wavy-laminated silt-rich mudstone (Facies 5; ponded water areas between dunes) with minor amounts of high-angle, cross-laminated sandstone (Facies 1) and low-angle, cross-laminated and horizontally laminated sandstone (Facies 2). FA1 is hypothesized to have been produced in an eolian system akin to those that might exist in the dune-dominated portion of an erg, whereas FA2 was deposited in the intermittently wet portion of this eolian system, perhaps along erg margins or in flat dune-adjacent settings that were impacted by the water table. Isopach data suggests that the study area is on the fringe of a larger Lyons system that spans > 100,000 km2, and was deposited close to the Ancestral Rockies—a paleogeography consistent with deposition in erg to erg-margin paleoenvironments. Detrital zircon populations from nearby Colorado Front Range outcrops and from 12 correlative eolian units are dominated by small, well-rounded Paleoproterozoic and Mesoproterozoic grain populations that are remarkably similar between units, signaling a well-mixed system that also received an influx of distally sourced sediment from the Appalachian orogen. Detrital zircon-based maximum depositional ages of the Lyons Sandstone and its equivalents are internally consistent with deposition of the unit during the latest Artinskian to Kungurian.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.