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The anatomy of exhumed river-channel belts: Bedform to belt‐scale river kinematics of the Ruby Ranch Member, Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, USA

Cardenas, Benjamin T. and Mohrig, David and Goudge, Timothy A. and Hughes, Cory M. and Levy, Joseph S. and Swanson, Travis and Mason, Jasmine and Zhao, Feifei (2020) The anatomy of exhumed river-channel belts: Bedform to belt‐scale river kinematics of the Ruby Ranch Member, Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, USA. Sedimentology, 67 (7). pp. 3655-3682. ISSN 0037-0746.

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Many published interpretations of ancient fluvial systems have relied on observations of extensive outcrops of thick successions. This paper, in contrast, demonstrates that a regional understanding of palaeoriver kinematics, depositional setting and sedimentation rates can be interpreted from local sedimentological measurements of bedform and barform strata. Dune and bar strata, channel planform geometry and bed topography are measured within exhumed fluvial strata exposed as ridges in the Ruby Ranch Member of the Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, USA. The ridges are composed of lithified stacked channel belts, representing at least five or six re‐occupations of a single‐strand channel. Lateral sections reveal well‐preserved barforms constructed of subaqueous dune cross‐sets. The topography of palaeobarforms is preserved along the top surface of the outcrops. Comparisons of the channel‐belt centreline to local palaeotransport directions indicate that channel planform geometry was preserved through the re‐occupations, rather than being obscured by lateral migration. Rapid avulsions preserved the state of the active channel bed and its individual bars at the time of abandonment. Inferred minimum sedimentation durations for the preserved elements, inferred from cross‐set thickness distributions and assumed bedform migration rates, vary within a belt from one to ten days. Using only these local sedimentological measurements, the depositional setting is interpreted as a fluvial megafan, given the similarity in river kinematics. This paper provides a systematic methodology for the future synthesis of vertical and planview data, including the drone‐equipped 2020 Mars Rover mission, to exhumed fluvial and deltaic strata.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Cardenas, Benjamin T.0000-0001-7246-219X
Mohrig, David0000-0003-1828-4526
Goudge, Timothy A.0000-0003-4297-9838
Hughes, Cory M.0000-0002-7061-1443
Levy, Joseph S.0000-0002-6222-139X
Swanson, Travis0000-0002-6879-7621
Mason, Jasmine0000-0003-4107-5749
Additional Information:© 2020 The Authors. Sedimentology © 2020 International Association of Sedimentologists. Issue Online: 20 November 2020; Version of Record online: 17 July 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 26 May 2020; Manuscript accepted: 20 May 2020; Manuscript received: 29 August 2019. We thank Chief Editor Ian Kane, Associate Editor Christopher Fielding, Arjan Reesink, Matt Joeckel and two anonymous reviewers for constructive feedback that helped to improve this manuscript. Hima Hassenruck‐Gudipati, Woong Mo Koo and David Brown are thanked for their field assistance. The staff of Green River State Park, Utah, were accommodating to our large group. This paper has improved following discussions with members of the David Mohrig Research Group and the Quantitative Clastics Laboratory, as well as Wonsuck Kim, Joel Johnson, Zoltan Sylvester, Cole Speed, Paola Passalacqua, Alistair Hayden, Mike Lamb, Becky Williams, Jenn Pickering and Tim Demko. Funding was provided by the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences, the University of Texas Graduate School and the RioMAR Industry Consortium. Data Availability Statement: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
University of Texas at AustinUNSPECIFIED
RioMAR Industry ConsortiumUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:bar; channel belt; fluvial sedimentology; preservation; sinuous ridge
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200527-130517990
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Cardenas, B.T., Mohrig, D., Goudge, T.A., Hughes, C.M., Levy, J.S., Swanson, T., Mason, J. and Zhao, F. (2020), The anatomy of exhumed river‐channel belts: Bedform to belt‐scale river kinematics of the Ruby Ranch Member, Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, USA. Sedimentology, 67: 3655-3682.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103494
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 May 2020 21:12
Last Modified:02 Dec 2020 19:32

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