Eocene Sediment Dispersal Pattern Records Asymmetry of Laramide Green River Basin, Southwestern Wyoming
Richard J. Baldwin, David W. Andersen
Provenance and paleocurrent data from synorogenic fluvial sandstones can be used to constrain theories about the timing and structural style of Laramide foreland uplifts and associated basins. The Green River basin of southwestern Wyoming is a large ellipsoidal basin bounded by uplifts with diverse orientations and basement rock compositions.
Sandstone from the main body of the Eocene Wasatch Formation in the Green River basin was sampled along the south and west flanks of the Rock Springs uplift. Petrographic examination and paleocurrent measurements reveal two main facies. The first facies is rich in feldspar and metamorphic rock fragments derived from the Wind River Mountains to the north. The second facies is dominated by quartz and sedimentary rock fragments, reflecting a source in the Uinta Mountains to the south. Distribution of these facies indicates that a sediment lobe extends 15 km into the basin from the Uinta Mountains. Another sediment lobe originates from the Wind River Mountains and extends approximately 100 km south into the basin. This pattern suggests that the topographic axis of the depositional basin w s an east-west-trending trough about 15 km north of the Uinta Mountains.
The position of the basin axis is inferred to reflect greater subsidence near the Uinta Mountains. The asymmetric distribution of the two facies of the Wasatch Formation thus supports the model of basin subsidence caused by thrust-loading and indicates the Uinta Mountains were the dominant active thrust block bounding the Green River basin during the early Eocene.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.