Pilot Valley, located in the eastern Basin and Range, north of Wendover, UT, contains numerous shorelines and depositional remnants of late Pleistocene Lake Bonneville. These remnants present classic ground penetrating radar (GPR) targets due to their coherent stratification, low clay, low salinity, and low moisture content. Three-dimensional (3D) GPR imaging can resolve fine-scale stratigraphy of these deposits down to a few centimeters. While lake levels fluctuated due to flooding events, climatic changes were the dominant factor in controlling lake levels. In Pilot Valley, the paleowind entered from the northwest, with storms coming from the south, and circulated clockwise around the basin, forming offshore sand bars. On the western side of the valley, a uniquely well-preserved interpreted regressive phase beach deposit, dated late Pleistocene, is hypothesized to have been a point bar shortly after the Provo Shoreline period. 3D GPR data, measured stratigraphic sections, cores, mineralogical analysis, and the collection of gastropod samples for radiocarbon dating constrain a reconstruction of the deposit's depositional environment and local paleoclimate for Lake Bonneville. The GPR images, visualized with state-of-the-art petroleum industry tools, reveal fine-scale stratigraphic detail that can be analyzed using seismic stratigraphy concepts. Our study provides a comprehensive model for ancient pluvial lake-shore depositional environments in a Basin and Range setting using an integration of geological and geophysical data.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Smith, Katelynn Marie, "A Geophysical and Geological Analysis of a Regressive-Phase Lake Bonneville Deposit, Pilot Valley, NV" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 6737.
Lake Bonneville, Pilot Valley stratigraphy, Ground Penetrating Radar, Provo Shoreline