Recognition and importance of amalgamated sandy meander belts in the continental rock record

Adrian J. Hartley, Amanda Owen, Alistair Swan, Gary S. Weissmann, Barbara I. Holzweber, John Howell, Gary Nichols, Louis Scuderi

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Abstract

Meandering fluvial channels and their meander belts are common in modern continental sedimentary basins, yet compose a minor constituent of the reported fluvial rock record. Here we document exhumed amalgamated meander belt deposits from the upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, Utah (United States). The size of the amalgamated meander belt (9000 km2) is significantly larger than any documented previously and comparable in size to those from modern sedimentary basins. We describe a representative outcrop of sandy point bar deposits that shows features considered characteristic of both braided and meandering fluvial systems. Lateral accretion sets compose <5% of the outcrop area, yet point bar morphology is clearly visible in plan view. We suggest that difficulties in the identification of sandy, amalgamated meander belt deposits indicate that they have gone largely unrecognized in the rock record. Their recognition has important implications for basin-scale reconstructions of fluvial systems and interpretation of tectonic setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-682
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume43
Issue number8
Early online date23 Jun 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

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Hartley, A. J., Owen, A., Swan, A., Weissmann, G. S., Holzweber, B. I., Howell, J., Nichols, G., & Scuderi, L. (2015). Recognition and importance of amalgamated sandy meander belts in the continental rock record. Geology, 43(8), 679-682. https://doi.org/10.1130/G36743.1