Strata interpreted to be eolian are recognized in the Neoproterozoic Big Bear Group in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California, USA. The strata consist of medium- to large-scale (30 cm to > 6 m) cross-stratified quartzite considered to be eolian dune deposits and interstratified thinly laminated quartzite that are problematically interpreted as either eolian translatent climbing ripple laminae, or as tidal-flat deposits. High index ripples and adhesion structures considered to be eolian are associated with the thinly laminated and cross-stratified strata. The eolian strata are in a succession that is characterized by flaser bedding, aqueous ripple marks, mudcracks, and interstratified small-scale cross-strata that are suggestive of a tidal environment containing local fluvial deposits. The eolian strata may have formed in a near-shore environment inland of a tidal flat. The Neoproterozoic Big Bear Group is unusual in the western United States and may represent a remnant of strata that were originally more widespread and part of the hypothetical Neoproterozoic supercontinent of Rodinia. The Big Bear Group perhaps is preserved only in blocks that were downdropped along Neoproterozoic extensional faults. The eolian deposits of the Big Bear Group may have been deposited during arid conditions that preceded worldwide glacial events in the late Neoproterozoic. Possibly similar pre-glacial arid events are recognized in northern Mexico, northeast Washington, Australia, and northwest Canada.
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Eolian deposits in the Neoproterozoic Big Bear Group, San Bernardino Mountains, California, USA