First distinguished from other sedimentary successions in 1928, the Entrada Sandstone has been the subject of numerous studies. The western extent of the formation was initially described as laterally continuous "earthy" red beds, and categorized as sub- to supratidal marine-influenced sediments. Recent workers have reexamined the sedimentary facies hosted by the Entrada Sandstone, and findings suggest purely terrestrial depositional environments. Several outcrops of the upper Entrada hosted peculiar sedimentary features, including undulatory and convex-upward, parallel-laminated bedforms, reminiscent of hummocky cross-stratification- unexpected features in a terrestrial environment. The purpose of this study was to collect detailed outcrop measurements of these and other facies present in the upper Entrada Sandstone and to place them in context within a regional sedimentary system. Measured section data was analyzed and divided into sixteen primary facies based on textures, features, bedforms, grain size, and other characteristics. Surfaces were also noted and described. Each facies and surface was recognized to have developed under specific depositional or flow conditions, including eolian, paleosol, and fluvial subcritical, critical, supercritical, and waning flow. Primary facies were grouped into observed and interpreted facies associations. A depositional environment was then assigned to each facies association. These environments included sabkha, overbank splay/paleosol, distal terminal splay, and hyper-distal terminal splay. Ancient analogs were found in the Blomidon, Skagerrak, and Ormskirk Formations, which have been described as dryland fluvial systems that terminated onto saline mudflats (sabkhas). Modern analogs were found in the central Australian continent, in the form of fluvial terminal splays in ephemeral Lakes Eyre and Frome. The sedimentary system of the upper Entrada Sandstone of the San Rafael Swell is interpreted as an interfingering fluvial terminal splay and inland sabkha system. These are marked by a wide array of sedimentary structures representing stark extremes, from hyperarid to flash flooding conditions. During arid conditions, the only source of water was evaporative pumping of a high water table. During the rare occasions when surface water flowed through the system, flash flooding events produced the highest stage of supercritical flow described in geological literature. The succession of these facies reveals allogenic and autogenic processes active at the time of deposition, including episodes of tectonic uplift and fluvial avulsions.



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Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences



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Entrada Sandstone, sabkha, dryland fluvial system, fluvial terminal splay, supercritical flow, salt crust efflorescence, climbing ripples, antidunes, sand-patch fabric, Utah, Lake Eyre, Lake Frome, Blomidon Formation, Skagerrak Formation, Ormskirk Formation



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