Master of Science (MS)


Geology and Geophysics

Document Type



ABSTRACT The Late Cretaceous Ferron-Notom Sandstone Member of the Mancos Shale Formation plays a dominant role in oil production in Utah. Although numerous sedimentological and sequence stratigraphic studies have been conducted in recent years on this sequence, palynological analyses had not yet been undertaken. Here we present palynological data from one hundred twenty eight samples collected in the Ferron-Noton Sandstone Member outcroping in south-central Utah. The purpose of this study is to refine our understanding of climatic and depositional environments and to build a biostratigraphic palynological framework. The dominance of terrestrial palynomorphs, especially the high yield in moisture-loving cryptogam spores recovered, indicates a depositional environment characteristic of hydromorphic floodplain paleosols in subtropical to tropical climates. Although dinoflagellates are rare, four intervals with occurrences in marine phytoplankton cysts likely indicate brief periods of increased marine/tidal influence and/or maximum flooding surfaces. The continuous presence of pollen grains Nyssapollenites albertensis place the interval studied within the Nyssapollenites albertensis Interval Zone (Nichols 1994), constraining the age of the Ferron-Notom Sandstone between the latter part of the Cenomanian and the early Coniacian, in agreement with the bentonite and ammonite-derived Turonian ages proposed in previous studies.



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Committee Chair

Warny, Sophie