1887
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2117
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Abstract

[Abstract

Many Paradox Basin passive salt diapirs underwent a prolonged history (>65 my) of progressive burial during the Early Triassic to Jurassic. Burial is recorded by a series of geographically limited wedge‐shaped stratal panels of diapiric roof, termed ‘burial wedges’, which partly covered the diapirs, thereby gradually narrowing them. Tectonostratigraphic analysis of the Triassic Chinle Fm. burial wedge developed on the Gypsum Valley diapir illustrates the typical features and processes associated with burial wedges. Burial wedges represent the first description of the geometry and deposition of strata deposited on a partially buried diapir. Recognition of burial wedges allows reinterpretation of Paradox Basin diapirs where large areas of the roof strata were syndepositionally folded rather than deformed in the Neogene. The observations and concepts can also be applied to the terminal histories of passive salt diapirs in other salt basins. Preserved burial wedges cover 97 km2, or 64% of the original Gypsum Valley diapir and overlie regional unconformities. Onlapping strata stack into wedge halokinetic sequences (HS). Caprock‐clast conglomerates indicate deposition on exposed diapirs. Syndepositional deformation of burial wedge strata formed small synclinal ‘microbasins’ and contractional chevron folds trending subparallel to the diapir margin. A four‐stage burial wedge model includes the following: (1) erosion of the diapir roof during formation of regional unconformities; (2) onlap and partial burial of the diapir; (3) local dissolution and possible concomitant gravity‐driven folding and (4) ongoing rotation during deposition, forming wedge HS signifying continued inflation of the top of the diapir. Post formation, the burial wedges were deformed in ways that obscure their original geometry. The most common deformation is downwarping of the burial wedge into the diapir due to dissolution or lateral movement of salt, creating an anticlinal fold that overlies the underlying diapir margin. These anticlines may be offset on small normal faults subparallel to the diapir margin. Burial wedges were faulted during later diapir breaching and solution collapse.

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Photograph of the Dolores River Canyon showing a burial wedge formed of onlapping and syndepositionally deformed Triassic Chinle Formation. Burial wedges preserve sediment and deformed during deposition on salt.

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