Fluvial architecture element analysis of the Brushy Basin Member, Morrison Formation, western Colorado, USA

Kenneth G. GALLI


The 85-m Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation in western Colorado, USA, comprises dinosaur-bearing sandstones (architectural element CHR and CH), crevasse-splay deposits and minor levee deposits (architectural element CS), mudstones, marlstones, altered ash beds and minor limestones as well as caliche paleosols and noncalcareous paleosols (architectural element FF). Channel sandstones occur at five stratigraphic levels at Trail Through Time (TT), eleven levels at Fruita Paleontological Research Area (FP), and at five levels at Echo Canyon (EC). River-channel sandstones hosted by floodplain mudstones tend to have cut down to resistant caliche paleosols. Depositional facies and architectural element analysis show that the rivers were low gradient, mainly anastomosing, with perennial flow, but seasonal with “flashy” peaks in discharge. Dinosaur bone accumulations are found in some floodplain ponds. Isolated bones are present in anastomosing channel sandstones at TT and in channel sandstone 2 at EC. At FP, major accumulations of bones were rapidly buried in the deep pools at three bends in the meandering river resulting in the formation of channel sandstone 2. There is no evidence for a large lacustrine or playa system at the three localities.


Fluvial Architecture Element Analysis; meandering; anastomosing; Brushy Basin Member; Morrison Formation; Kimmeridgian; Colorado

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