The Triassic and Jurassic rocks in Western Interior United States contain nine unconformities each of which was destroyed to some extent by a younger unconformity. Regardless of extent, all are useful for correlation of rock sequences in areas where fossils or age dates are lacking. The purpose of this report is to call attention to the presence, significance, and value for correlation of these unconformities. The Triassic unconformities are designated from oldest to youngest, Tr-1, Tr-2, and Tr-3; the Jurassic ones similarly are designated J-0, J-l, J-2, J-3, J-4, and J-5. Of these, the J-2 surface is the best preserved and most widespread. It extends throughout the Western Interior and truncates the older unconformities in different parts of this area. Consequently, the J-2 surface is discussed and illustrated in much more detail than the others.
Identification of these unconformities throughout large areas where their presence hitherto had been unknown results in some new unexpected correlations and conclusions. Principal among these are: (1) The Red Draw Member of the Jelm Formation of southeastern Wyoming equals the lower part of the Crow Mountain Sandstone of central Wyoming. The Sips Creek Member of the Jelm Formation of southeastern Wyoming equals the upper part of the Crow Mountain Sandstone of central Wyoming and the Gartra Member of the Chinle Formation in the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado. The Chinle Formation of the Colorado Plateau and the Uinta Mountains equals the upper part of the Crow Mountain plus the Popo Agie Formation of central Wyoming. (2) The Nugget Sandstone of northern Utah and southwestern Wyoming approximately equals the Glen Canyon Group of the Colorado Plateau. The Temple Cap Sandstone of southwestern Utah equals the Gypsum Spring Formation and the Gypsum Spring Member of the Twin Creek Limestone of Wyoming and the Nesson Formation of Nordquist in the subsurface of the Williston basin. The Sawtooth and Piper Formations at their type sections in Montana and the lower parts of the Twin Creek Limestone (including only the Sliderock, Rich, and Boundary Ridge Members) in western Wyoming and of the Carmel Formation in the Colorado Plateau, at their respective type localities, are equivalent, but none of these correlate with any part of the Gypsum Spring Formation of Wyoming. The Curtis Formation at its type locality in the San Rafael Swell, Utah, equals only the lower part of the Curtis Formation of the Uinta Mountains. The upper part of the Curtis in the Uinta Mountains and the Redwater Shale Member of the Sundance Formation of Wyoming and South Dakota are equivalent.
Estimates of the length of time in millions of years (m.y.) required for uplift and erosion of an unconformity range from less than 1 to as much as 10 m.y.; the average is about 1.8 m.y. if the extremes in time are excluded. The length of time for burial of the surfaces by transgression ranges from less than 1 to about 10 m.y.; the average is less than 1 m.y. if the extremes in time are disregarded.
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Title||Principal unconformities in Triassic and Jurassic rocks, western interior United States; a preliminary survey|
|Series title||Professional Paper|
|Publisher||United States Government Printing Office|
|Publisher location||Washington, D. C.|
|Description||Report: iii, 29 p.; 1 Plate: 35 x 52 inches.|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||Y|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|