Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version

Summer 6-2014


Alaboud, F., 2014, Sedimentological and Stratigraphic Study of a Falling-Stage Delta Complex in the Upper Cretaceous (Turonian) Ferron Sandstone Member of the Mancos Shale, South-Central Utah, USA, [MS thesis], Lincoln, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 78 p.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Christopher R. Fielding. Lincoln, Nebraska: June, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Fares Alaboud


The character and distribution of lithofacies in falling-stage deltas are incompletely documented. This paper presents a sedimentological and stratigraphic evaluation of a superbly-exposed interval of Cretaceous deltaic strata that are believed to be of falling stage origin. The studied interval forms part of the Upper Cretaceous (Turonian) Ferron Sandstone Member of the Mancos Shale in the southernmost Henry Mountains Basin of south-central Utah, USA. The interval of interest is exposed in three dimensions over a 20 km2 area in a series of canyon walls. Observed facies include fine-grained mudrocks (offshore basin), mudrocks with thinly interlaminated sandstone (prodelta), thinly interbedded siltstones and fine-grained sandstones (distal delta front), thickly interbedded siltstones, coarse-grained siltstones and fine-grained sandstones (medial delta front), and amalgamated fine- to medium-grained sandstones (proximal delta front). No facies of interpreted delta top origin were observed within the studied succession. The proximal delta front facies includes spectacular, chaotic sandstone-filled gullies up to 6 m deep and 300 m wide. The basal parts of these gully fills preserve large-scale convolute bedding, rotational failures and, in numerous places, growth faults. At least three such gully fills were noted, incised into different levels within the succession. The existence of three gully fills indicates episodes of delta progradation and sea level fall. Paleocurrent data indicate southeastward sediment dispersal. Facies stacking patterns and incised gully fills, together with the lack of a delta plain topset, argue strongly for a falling stage origin for the described succession. This study provides new insights into the facies architecture and stacking patterns of shallow-water, falling-stage deltas. In particular, the study illustrates a style of falling-stage deltaic system in which a descending regressive trajectory is difficult to discern.

Adviser: Christopher R. Fielding