Reevaluation of Wolfcampian Cyclothems in Northeastern Kansas

Significance of Subaerial Exposure and Flooding Surfaces

Authors

  • Keith B. Miller Department of Geology, Kansas State University
  • Ronald R. West Department of Geology, Kansas State University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17161/cres.v0i235.11848

Keywords:

keyword

Abstract

Ten cyclothems from the Wolfcampian of northeastern Kansas, including parts of the Council Grove and Chase Groups, were examined in detail with particular attention to discontinuity surfaces and paleosol development. These cyclothems are shown to be bounded by major discontinuities, or sequence boundaries, where marine limestones abruptly overlie paleosol profiles. Occurring within these cyclothemic sequences are prominent meter-scale cycles that are bounded by flooding surfaces, many of which overlie facies exhibiting evidence of subaerial exposure. They are developed within both the marine carbonate and shale intervals and variegated mudstone intervals of the cyclothems. These meter-scale cycles show a consistent carbonate-to-clastic pattern regardless of their stratigraphic position or component facies. Climate fluctuations within a generally monsoonal environment are determined to be the most likely forcing mechanism for the meter-scale cycles, with wetter climate phases resulting in the increased influx of terrigenous clastic sediment and drier climate phases favoring carbonate precipitation. Evidence of climate change at the scale of the cyclothemic sequences is also recognized in the studied interval. Cycles at both scales indicate that relative sea-level rise was associated with increasingly arid conditions and that sea-level fall was associated with an intensification of seasonal rainfall.

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1993-07-01