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Classification of sedimentary architectures arising from fluvial-eolian system interactions: Permian examples from southeast Utah, USA

The sedimentary evolution of arid environments is governed by numerous geomorphic processes. Interactions between fluvial and eolian systems are commonly observed in both modern arid settings and ancient sedimentary successions. However, despite considerable prior focus on eolian systems in sedimentological research, there is no unifying scheme to provide generalized definitions of commonly occurring types of preserved fluvial-eolian interactions. This study addresses this shortcoming by introducing a novel classification scheme for sedimentary architectures arising from these type of system interactions; examples are illustrated through reference to well-known Permian deposits of the Paradox Basin in South-East Utah, USA. Stratigraphic units of the Cutler Group have been deposited by competing coastal, eolian erg (dune field) and alluvial fan systems. Well preserved, laterally continuous outcrops arranged in different orientations enable three-dimensional architectural characterization. By analyzing various architectural panels from published studies, the sedimentary record of eight types of eolian-fluvial interaction have been identified: 1) watertable-controlled interdune deposits; 2) low- energy deposits originating from fluvial flood input; 3) isolated ribbon- shaped channel-fills originating from episodic confined flooding of interdunes in orientations parallel to the trend of dune crest-lines; 4) isolated ribbon-shaped channel-fills originating from episodic confined flooding of interdune corridors in orientations perpendicular to the trend of dune crest-lines; 5) amalgamated channel-forms resulting from long-lasting confined flooding; 6) unconfined sheet-like flood deposits; 7) fluvial breaching of dunes and their reworking by catastrophic flooding; 8) eolian reworking of fluvial deposits. Each interaction type has been characterized in terms of architectural- element geometries and sedimentary proprieties. Summary architectural panels are presented in a way that demonstrates the variability of element geometries in three dimensions. Outcomes from this study provide a guide with which to make sedimentological interpretations in ancient and modern settings.


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Département ENS
  • Directrice :
    Guillemette Ménot
  • Secrétaire :
    Emmanuelle Lousson
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