Development of red bed landform in the western United States and a comparison with Danxia landform in southeast China
PAN Zhixin1(),REN Fang2(),PENG Hua3
1. School of Tourism, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China 2. Institute of Geo-mechanics, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China 3. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510275, China
The western United States and southeastern China, featured by landscapes of red cliffs, are major distribution regions of red beds in the world. It is of great value to make a comparative study on red beds and landform development in these two regions. Based on geologic literature analysis and field investigation, this study summarizes the distribution, age, geologic background, lithology, and geomorphic features of red beds in the western United States. Then, a comparison with Danxia landform in southeast China was conducted. It reveals that red bed landform in the western United States and Danxia landform in southeast China are erosional landform developed on red beds, with red cliffs as a remarkable geomorphic feature. However, due to differences in regional geologic background, material basis, and the dominant exogenic force, specific geomorphic features in these two areas are not exactly the same. Red beds in the western United States were mainly deposited in a huge back-arc basin during the period from Triassic to Jurassic. Although depositional environment for these red beds are complex, most of them are continental deposits, especially eolian deposit. In terms of lithology, the majority of red beds in the western United States are composed of fine-grained sandstones, siltstones or mudstones, with very few conglomerates. In terms of geomorphic development of red beds in this region, the downcutting process by flowing streams has been playing a dominant role, creating relatively simple red bed landform types that are characterized by a geomorphic combination of plateau and canyons. As for Danxia landform in southeast China, red beds were deposited in Cretaceous in small and medium-sized rift basins or depression basins. They are all continental deposits, mainly composed of coarse-grained clastic rocks. In aspect of landform development, the controlling exogenic factor is lateral erosion by streams, which produces various types of red bed landforms, with peak clusters and hoodoos as overall landscape feature.
. 美国西部红层地貌发育及与中国东南部丹霞地貌的对比[J]. 地理研究,
2018, 37(12): 2399-2410.
. Development of red bed landform in the western United States and a comparison with Danxia landform in southeast China[J]. GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH,
2018, 37(12): 2399-2410.
Although red beds are a widespread landscape in China, geosciences academia fail to pay much attention to it, and a lack of collaboration among related fields results in a trend that different disciplines have different interpretations of the same issue; specifically, much concern on red beds, the fragile geographical unit, is highly needed with regard to land degradation and environmental problems. Humid area in southern China is one of the places where red beds are densely distributed. However, most of red beds areas are suffering from serious geomorphological catastrophes and soil-water erosion; even worse, many places are witnessing huge patches of 'red beds desert'. Even if we might admit that irrational land use contributes to the land degradation in red beds, there is no doubt that land degradation is a natural result of rock landscape evolution. This paper first indicates that natural evolution serves as a process of multi-factors' effect, which can be regarded as a system of mutual causality. Also, this paper analyzes the current researches on slope erosion mechanism of red beds landforms and areas, and raises scientific problems in red beds researches are facing with. Furthermore, this paper claims that a new interdisciplinary thinking of System Dynamics should be introduced to conduct a comprehensive research on the interrelation between red beds and landform development, natural catastrophes, soil erosion, environment degradation, overall geographic environment as well as production-living. Finally, this paper will hopefully find a way to promote land management and environment optimization.
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In the context that China Danxia landform went into the world and began the research of a new phase, it is necessary to make a review on the research progress of red beds and Danxia landform in and outside China. It is revealed that the domestic study was focused on the characteristics of red beds, engineering geology, features of Danxia landform and the basic problems of development. In general, in China there were no integrated studies of red beds concerning the field of geology and geomorphology, and the differences between lithologic characteristics of red beds and their related geomorphic development processes under the influence of exogenetic force were not well understood. However, research outside China were limited in the field of geology, and relevant studies of red beds and Danxia landform were conducted in the field of sandstone landform, with a microscopic, quantitative and experimental analysis. This paper suggests that most of the existing studies on red beds and Danxia landform were focused on single factor, and lack of subject system, and the integration of related subjects was also insufficient. Then, a new agenda for the future research was put forward, in which a clear discipline classification of red beds and Danxia landform and further basic research should be made, and the integration of related subjects, international communication and the global comparative research should also be strengthened.
[PengHua, PanZhixin, YanLuobin, et al.A review of the research on red beds and Danxia landform. , 2013, 68(9): 1170-1181.]
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ABSTRACT Sedimentologic, stratigraphic, and struc-tural data indicate that the Fountain For-mation at Manitou Springs consists of three tectonostratigraphic units, herein termed the lower, middle, and upper Fountain Forma-tion. Both the lower and middle Fountain Formation were deposited in a fan-delta set-ting adjacent to the active ancestral Ute Pass fault. The lower is thin and predominantly characterized by depositional stability as re-corded by abundant well-developed, deeply rooted paleosols. The middle Fountain For-mation refl ects fan progradation and high-land rejuvenation as a result of increased activity of the ancestral Ute Pass fault. This activity was likely the result of a basinward splay of the ancestral Ute Pass fault with reverse dip-slip motion as indicated by (1) ex-humation of the lower Paleozoic Sawatch Formation and (2) fault-parallel folding. The upper Fountain Formation refl ects deposi-tion in a NW-SE rending, braided-river system and appears to postdate movement on the ancestral Ute Pass fault. Lithostrati-graphic correlation allows for a Latest Pennsylvanian arly Permian age for the upper Fountain Formation, thus constrain-ing cessation of the ancestral Ute Pass fault to Middle to Late Pennsylvanian time. The Fountain Formation was deposited within a NW-SE riented structural trough (i.e., Woodland Park trough) that separated the ancestral Front Range into a northern block (i.e., ancestral Front Range block) and a southern block (i.e., Ute Pass uplift). The Woodland Park trough was bounded on its southern margin by the ancestral Ute Pass fault, which was active throughout deposi-tion of the lower two Fountain tectonostrati-graphic units, during which time sediments were shed northward across the ancestral Ute Pass fault into a marine environment. By the time of deposition of the upper Foun-tain Formation, movement on the ancestral Ute Pass fault had ceased or dramatically decreased. During this time, the Fountain Formation records predominantly axially oriented, braided-stream deposition. Comparison of the timing and kinematic history of the ancestral Ute Pass fault with other documented reverse and strike-slip faults of the ancestral Rocky Mountains sug-gests that: (1) cessation of faulting within the ancestral Rocky Mountains displays a slight east-to-west younging, but the crude age reso-lution of adjacent basin fi ll also allows for the possibility of relatively synchronous cessation of faulting, and (2) kinematics of all faults examined are consistent with a NE-SW oriented maximum horizontal compres-sional stress fi eld. These inferences contrast with the proposed Laurentian ondwanan diach ro nous closure models for the ancestral Rocky Mountains, which require rotation of the maximum horizontal stress orientation through time and pronounced east-to-west younging of faulting. Rotation of the horizon-tal stress fi eld may be recorded in multistage, kinematic histories of faults, but multiple faults require study to assess this model. Age constraints on post-tectonic units of the an-cestral Rocky Mountains, such as the upper Fountain Formation tectonostratigraphic unit defi ned herein, are poor and further refi nement would greatly aid understanding of the kinematic timing and tectonic driving force of these ancient mountains.
Jordan OD, Mountney NP.Styles of interaction between aeolian, fluvial and shallow marine environments in the Pennsylvanian to Permian lower Cutler beds, southeast Utah, USA. , 2010, 57(5): 1357-1385.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-3091.2010.01148.x/full
The Pennsylvanian to Permian lower Cutler beds comprise a 200 m thick mixed continental and shallow marine succession that forms part of the Paradox foreland basin fill exposed in and around the Canyonlands region of south-east Utah. Aeolian facies comprise: (i) sets and compound cosets of trough cross-bedded dune sandstone dominated by grain flow and translatent wind-ripple strata; (ii) interdune strata characterized by sandstone, siltstone and mudstone interbeds with wind-ripple, wavy and horizontal planar-laminated strata resulting from accumulation on a range of dry, damp or wet substrate-types in the flats and hollows between migrating dunes; and (iii) extensive, near-flat lying wind-rippled sandsheet strata. Fluvial facies comprise channel-fill sandstones, lag conglomerates and finer-grained overbank sheet-flood deposits. Shallow marine facies comprise carbonate ramp limestones, tidal sand ridges and bioturbated marine mudstones. During episodes of sand sea construction and accumulation, compound transverse dunes migrated primarily to the south and south-east, whereas south-westerly flowing fluvial systems periodically punctuated the dune fields from the north-east. Several vertically stacked aeolian sequences are each truncated at their top by regionally extensive surfaces that are associated with abundant calcified rhizoliths and bleaching of the underlying beds. These surfaces record the periodic shutdown and deflation of the dune fields to the level of the palaeo-water-table. During episodes of aeolian quiescence, fluvial systems became more widespread, forming unconfined braid-plains that fed sediment to a coastline that lay to the south-west and which ran approximately north-west to south-east for at least 200 km. Shallow marine systems repeatedly transgressed across the broad, low-relief coastal plain on at least 10 separate occasions, resulting in the systematic preservation of units of marine limestone and calcarenite between units of non-marine aeolian and fluvial strata, to form a series of depositional cycles. The top of the lower Cutler beds is defined by a prominent and laterally extensive marine limestone that represents the last major north-eastward directed marine transgression into the basin prior to the onset of exclusively non-marine sedimentation of the overlying Cedar Mesa Sandstone. Styles of interaction between aeolian, fluvial and marine facies associations occur on two distinct scales and represent the preserved expression of both small-scale autocyclic behaviour of competing, coeval depositional systems and larger-scale allocyclic changes that record system response to longer-term interdependent variations in climatic and eustatic controlling mechanisms. The architectural relationships and system interactions observed in the lower Cutler beds demonstrate that the succession was generated by several cyclical changes in both climate and relative sea-level, and that these two external controls probably underwent cyclical change in harmony with each other in the Paradox Basin during late Pennsylvanian and Permian times. This observation supports the hypothesis that both climate and eustasy were interdependent at this time and were probably responding to a glacio-eustatic driving mechanism.
Walker TR, Larson EE, Hoblitt RP.Nature and origin of hematite in the Moenkopi Formation (Triassic), Colorado Plateau: A contribution to the origin of magnetism in red beds. , 1981, 86(B1): 317-333.http://doi.wiley.com/10.1029/JB086iB01p00317
Petrographic studies show that hematite is present in the Moenkopi Formation in at least five and possibly six forms: (1) microcrystalline hematite, (2) crystals of specular hematite, (3) polycrystalline and monocrystalline grains, (4) grains of partly hematitized ilmenite, (5) grains composed of primary ilmenite-hematite intergrowths, and (6) ultrafine pigment. The microcrystalline hematite and crystals of specular hematite are unequivocally authigenic. They form cement in interstitial and secondary voids, and they have replaced detrital iron-bearing silicate minerals. Furthermore, microcrystalline hematite is superimposed on other authigenic cementing minerals such as potassium feldspar, calcite, dolomite, and quartz, and in some cases it has replaced authigenic pyrite. In addition, both microcrystalline and specularite crystals are common daughter products of intrastratally altered biotite grains. Thermodynamic considerations coupled with studies of hematite-magnetite relationships in modern sediments indicate that most of the hematite in the polycrystalline grains, and probably the monocrystalline grains as well, was formed authigenically by post-depositional replacement of detrital grains of magnetite. The ilmenite probably has similarly altered in situ to hematite. The only hematite of unquestionable detrital origin in the red beds is the hematite in the ilmenite-hematite intergrowths (tiger striped grains) and that in monocrystalline detrital grains containing rutile exsolution platelets, both of which are products of high-temperature processes. With the exception of the ultrafine pigment, each of the above forms is coarser grained than the superparamagnetic threshold for hematite, and therefore each contributes components of remanent magnetism to the rocks. Inasmuch as most of the hematite varieties represent authigenic products of intrastratal alterations that require considerable geologic time, we conclude that the red bed remanence is largely chemical remanent magnetization (CRM) acquired over long time intervals. The pigment in the Moenkopi red beds consists partly of authigenic ultrafine red iron oxide and partly of translucent microcrystalline hematite. The ultrafine red iron oxide may or may not be hematite, but even if it is, the grain size probably lies below the paramagnetic threshold for hematite. Much of the pigment, therefore, may not contribute greatly to the remanent magnetism in the rocks.
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The Upper Triassic Chinle Formation forms a widespread continental deposit across the Colorado Plateau. Varying sandstone/mudstone ratios and resulting architectural differences throughout the formation provide the basis for recognition of six formal members and one informal unit in southeastern Utah and adjacent northern Arizona. The Shinarump and Moss Back Members consist of very broad thin sheets of interconnected sandstone bodies that formed in braided stream environments. The Monitor Butte and Petrified Forest Members consist of disconnected ribbon and narrow sheet sandstone bodies enclosed in thick mudstone sequences. The sandstone bodies formed in chiefly meandering streams. The Owl Rock and Churck Rock Members and Kane Springs strata are more variable packages of sandstone, mudstone and limestone that formed by various fluvial and lacustrine processes. Analysis of sandstone-body geometry and interconnectedness of the Shinarump, Moss Back, Monitor Butte, and Petrified Forest Members suggests that changing regional subsidence rates were major causes for their architectural patterns. These conclusions are supported by a comparison of Chinle sandstone-body geometry with sandstone-body geometry produced by quantitative models in the literature. The alternating sheet and ribbon geometry of the calcarenite and calcirudite channel deposits in the Kane Springs strata is related to diapiric salt activity in the Salt Anticline region. Controls that affected the sandstone-body geometry in the Church Rock Member are not fully understood but are probably related to increased aridity at the close of Chinle deposition.
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Abstract The erg-margin deposits, which extend across a 50- to 100-km-wide region, are composed of dune, eolian sand-sheet, mud-flanked eolian, sabkha, ephemeral-stream and lacustrine facies. The succession is divided into a basal erg-margin association (8-27 m) dominated by eolian facies and an overlying erg-margin association (as much as 90 m thick) composed mainly of fluvial and lacustrine facies. -from Authors
FossenH, Schultz RA, TorabiA.Conditions and implications for compaction band formation in the Navajo Sandstone, Utah. , 2011, 33(10): 1477-1490.https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0191814111001246
Observations from quartz-rich eolian Navajo Sandstone in the Buckskin Gulch site in southernmost Utah show that pure compaction bands only occur in sandstones where current porosity > 0.29 ± 3, permeability > 10 ± 7 darcy, and grain size > 0.4 mm – properties restricted to the lower and most coarse-grained and well-sorted parts of grain flow units within the dune units. Hence a direct correlation between stratigraphy and band occurrence has been established that can be used to predict deformation band occurrences in similar sandstone reservoirs. We show that the pure compaction bands formed perpendicular to a subhorizontal σ 1, bisecting conjugate sets of shear-enhanced compaction bands. The latter bands locally developed into shear-dominated bands that transect entire dune units, suggesting that an increase in the amount of simple shear promotes band propagation into less porous and permeable lithologies. Stress considerations indicate that, as a continuous and overlapping sequence of events, pure compaction bands in quartz-rich Navajo Sandstone initiated at 10–20 MPa (651 km depth), followed by shear-enhanced compaction bands that locally developed into more stratigraphically extensive shear-dominated bands. The rare combination of special lithologic and stress conditions may explain why pure compaction bands are rarely observed in naturally deformed sandstones.
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Nevadan structures show great variation in style but relatively constant orientations. Slaty cleavages and tight folds are the characteristic main-phase structures in the western belt of Jurassic island-arc volcanic rocks and flysch-type sedimentary rocks. The central belt of Paleozoic metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks shows the most extreme variation in style of main-phase structures, from weak, spaced to crenulation cleavages in the south, where polyphase deformed rocks formed a structural basement, to slaty and phyllitic cleavages and asymmetric to isoclinal folds in the north, where most of the Paleozoic basement rocks lack penetrative pre-Nevadan fabrics. Eastward-directed thrust faulting apparently was important only in the northern part of the range, where main-phase deformation was most intense. The eastern belt of Jurassic and Triassic magmatic arc-volcanic and sedimentary rocks defines the core of a major synclinorium, and the rocks contain penetrative slaty cleavages and asymmetric, tight to isoclinal folds. Nevadan Orogeny involved underthrusting of island-arc rocks on the west and significant crustal shortening in the central and eastern belts; features suggest that the orogeny resulted from the collision of the island-arc (western belt) with an andean-type arc (eastern belt) situated at the western edge of North America.--Modified journal abstract.
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Paleotemperature and salinity profiles for the Western interior Seaway are reconstructed by use of oxygen and carbon isotopic signatures of shell material. Data have been gathered on different groups of molluscs distributed in three distinct habitat types that reflect different positions in the water column: infaunal benthonic, epifaunal benthonic, and nektonic. Isotopic variations and inferred environmental tolerances of the organisms were used to determine upper and lower temperature boundaries for each habitat group and therefore water depth zones. Water density for each temperature-salinity combination within a habitat range was calculated and used to develop a physically stable stratification model. The results clearly show that the layers in the water column were decoupled, had different isotopic histories, and consisted of denser, more saline warm bottom layers overlain by cooler less saline intermediate layers. It is proposed that this profile originated due to a surface current transporting runoff water from the western highlands towards the eastern shallow border of the seaway where evaporation and heating of surface water in a warm humid atmosphere caused increased density and sinking, followed by westward return flow of the warm saline bottom water. This model is compatible with known climatic and oceanographic information for the Cretaceous.
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East of the Black Hills, the lower part of the Gammon grades into the upper part of Niobrara Formation which contains widespread chalk tongues. The chalk tongues were probably deposited on a northwest sloping carbonate ramp which was essentially free of western-derived detritus. In central South Dakota, an unconformity, developed at the stratigraphic position of Shannon and younger Gammon rocks, occurs along a northeast-southwest trend and represents submarine erosion along the Transcontinental Arch. In southeastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, the unconformity is present on a flat surface cut into the Precambrian basement on the Sioux Ridge which was an island near the eastern shoreline.
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The Laramide orogeny is the Late Cretaceous to Paleocene (80 to 55 Ma) orogenic event that gave rise to the Laramide block uplifts in the United States, the Rocky Mountain fold-and-thrust belt in Canada and the United States, and the Sierra Madre Oriental fold-and-thrust belt in east-central Mexico. The Laramide orogeny is believed to post-date the Jurassic and late Early Cretaceous accretion of the terranes that make up much of the North American Cordillera, precluding a collisional origin for Laramide orogenesis. Instead, the deformation belt along much of its length likely developed 700-1500 km inboard of the nearest convergent margin. The purpose of this paper is to show, through a review of proposed mechanisms for producing this inboard deformation (retroarc thrusting, "orogenic float" tectonics, flat-slab subduction and Cordilleran transpressional collision), that the processes responsible for orogeny remain enigmatic.
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