Sequence stratigraphic analysis of marginal marine sabkha facies : Entrada Sandstone, Four Corners region

Makechnie, Glenn Kenneth
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The Middle Jurassic Entrada Sandstone of the Four Corners region, USA, is composed predominantly of very fine-grained, red, silty sandstone with poorly defined sedimentary structures. The origin of this facies is enigmatic, even though it is common both on the Colorado Plateau and globally, and is spatially situated between deposits recording unambiguous marine and aeolian environments. Eleven sections were measured along an 85 km transect from the Blanding Basin in southeastern Utah to the San Juan Basin in northwestern New Mexico. Outcrop and laboratory analyses distinguish eight facies: (1) silty shale, (2) shallow subaqueous reworked, fine- to medium-grained sandstone, (3) brecciated, very fine-grained sandstone, (4) crinkly laminated, very fine-grained sandstone with preserved wind ripples and abundant silty laminae, (5) weakly laminated, fine-grained sandstone with occasional silty laminae, (6) planar-laminated, fine-grained, wind-rippled sandstone, (7) cross-stratified, fine- to medium-grained aeolian cross-stratified sandstone, and (8) micritic limestone. Lateral and vertical relationships of these facies show a proximal to distal transition from cross-bedded wind-lain facies to loess-dominated sabkha facies with increasing abundance of water-lain facies basinward. The well known Todilto Limestone (facies 8) is situated stratigraphically below loess-dominated sabkha facies (facies 4 and 5) within the Entrada Sandstone, reinforcing previous interpretations that the unit represents a catastrophic flooding event and not a local groundwater flux.