The purpose of this study is to analyze the sedimentology and stratigraphy of the Middle Jurassic Preuss Sandstone and re-evaluate past sedimentological interpretations. The Preuss is located in northern Utah, western Wyoming and eastern Idaho and is stratigraphically equivalent to the Entrada Sandstone, which is Callovian in age (Dossett et al., 2014). This study is the first attempt at 1) a sequence stratigraphic framework, 2) a petroleum system analysis and 3) an extraterrestrial analog study for the Preuss. This study frames the Preuss within three broad facies groups: marine, coastal and terrestrial. The marine group includes the open marine and restricted marine facies with associated subfacies, the coastal group includes coastal sabkha and associated subfacies, and the terrestrial group includes alluvial, inland sabkha and eolian facies with associated subfacies. Three sections in northern Utah and one section in eastern Idaho compromise the focus of this study. The three Utah sections were measured and described, and samples were collected from two Utah sections and the Idaho section. The Preuss Sandstone was deposited in an asymmetrical retroarc basin, consequently the Preuss thickens from the east towards west-central Utah and the Jurassic Elko highlands. The deposits are mostly terrestrial, which is in accord with recent sedimentological interpretations, but at odds with the old paradigm, which postulates that the Entrada and Preuss were largely tidal in origin. There are marine transgressions within the trough of the retroarc basin, and the transgressions affect terrestrial sedimentary patterns. During marine incurstions, alluvium shed off the highlands is confined west of the seaway, and does not prograde east of the trough until all the available accommodation is filled. The Preuss was deposited during a complete third-order sequence-stratigraphic cycle that lies within the Lower Zuni II second-order lowstand. The Preuss Sandstone can be used as an outcrop analog for ancient and modern environments both here on Earth and on other planetary bodies. The petroliferous Norphlet Formation along the U.S. Gulf Coast was deposited in an environment very similar to the Preuss, but the Waltherian succession of facies might be slightly different. Likewise, the facies present in the Preuss are analogous to modern arid environments, such as the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, the alluvial, sabkha, eolian and shallow marine facies of the Preuss are highly similar to facies observed in ancient Martian environments and modern environments on Saturn's moon, Titan.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences



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Preuss Sandstone, Entrada Sandstone, Jurassic, Callovian, stratigraphy, sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy, facies analysis, paleogeography, Norphlet Formation, Mars, Titan, Saturn, moon, petroleum, oil, gas, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming

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