The Jurassic Twist Gulch Formation of central Utah was deposited in the active Arapien sub-basin of the Western Cordillera foreland trough. We herein demonstrate the utility of integrating facies analysis, terrestrial sequence stratigraphy, and detrital zircon (U-Pb) ages to improve paleogeographic reconstructions as well as identify regional unconformities, locate fluvial depocenters, and infer sediment supply/accommodation space ratios. Strata of the Twist Gulch Formation in Pigeon Creek Canyon (PCC) near Levan, Utah consists primarily of alluvial deposits, while in Salina Canyon (SC) the Twist Gulch Formation is comprised of a mix of alluvial and marginal marine deposits associated with the Jurassic Western Interior Seaway. Within the PCC section, a change from high accommodation system (HAS) mudstones to low accommodation system (LAS) multi-storied channel sandstones and back to HAS deposits exists. This same pattern exists in the SC section but culminates with marine deposits. Terrestrial sequence stratigraphy predicts that the change from HAS to LAS deposits indicate a sequence boundary and thus an unconformity. The J-3 unconformity, a regional unconformity on the Colorado Plateau, separates strata of Callovian age from Oxfordian age in Utah. Using detrital zircons (U-Pb), the first radiometric ages were obtained for the Twist Gulch Formation. The J-3 unconformity is bracketed by detrital zircon (U-Pb) ages and stratigraphic relationships in the study area. These new ages suggest that the Twist Gulch Formation is time-equivalent to the Entrada Sandstone, Curtis, and Summerville formations of the Colorado Plateau. Further, integrating facies analysis, terrestrial sequence stratigraphy, and detrital zircon (U-Pb) ages predicts that the PCC section was an active depocenter during the early Oxfordian in which sedimentation outpaced accommodation space, prograding the Oxfordian shoreline of the Jurassic Western Interior Seaway shoreline eastward. This integration process also predicts that subsurface sandstones positioned above the J-3 unconformity on the west side of the Wasatch Plateau are of a different age, depositional system, and systems tract from subsurface sandstones on the east side of the Wasatch Plateau.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences



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Twist Gulch, paleogeography, detrital zircon, Jurassic, sequence stratigraphy



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Geology Commons