SEDIMENTOLOGIC AND STRATIGRAPHIC INDICATORS OF REGIONAL PALEOGEOGRAPHY WITHIN THE LOWER PALEOCENE NACIMIENTO FORMATION, SAN JUAN BASIN, NEW MEXICO, USA
Using meter-scale, fluvial aggradational cycle (FAC) analysis, we identified 44 FACs at Kutz Canyon, 48 FACs at Torreon West, and 38 FACs at Torreon East. At Kutz Canyon, near the center of the SJB, accommodation and grain size trends are positively correlated and indicate a possible extrinsic (tectonic) control on deposition. The Torreon West section, near the southern edge of the SJB, has a high number of thin (1m) FACs that are interstratified as crevasse splay and associated overbank deposits. This trend indicates a channel-proximal to overbank transitional landscape position comparatively less influenced by tectonic overprint. Amalgamated sandstones at Torreon East, near the southern edge of the SJB, suggest a landscape position that coincided with a higher proportion of channel complexes. The different patterns of FAC stacking and grain size trends at the three locations provide information that helps characterize regional variations in paleogeography and depositional style across the SJB. Depositional environments in the center of the SJB appear to be linked to basin evolution whereas near the basin margin, depositional environments are more likely influenced by intrinsic processes related to channel migration. Future work will focus on reconstructing paleoclimate using qualitative and quantitative analyses of paleosols to help discern the differential influence of tectonics, climate, and channel migration on deposition.