Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Carol M. Dehler


Carol M. Dehler


W. David Liddell


Peter T. Kolesar


The Red Pine Shale (RPS; ~1120m), uppermost formation of the Neoproterozoic Uinta Mountain Group, Utah, is an organic-rich sedimentary succession that represents marine deltaic systems delivering mature sediment from the east and immature sediment from the north. Multiple data sets suggest regional climate and sea-level changes associated with changing organic carbon burial rates. Six facies identified represent wave-, tidal-, and river-influenced parts of the distal prodelta to delta front. The shale facies is interpreted as distal prodeltaic deposition in a marine environment. The concretion facies is interpreted as prodeltaic deposition to distal prodelta. The shale-sandstone facies represents suspension settling with dilute density currents in a proximal prodelta to delta front environment. The slump fold facies was deposited on the proximal prodelta or delta front. The sandstone facies represents deposition on the delta front and shows marine- and river- influences. The pebbly sandstone facies is representative of a delta front environment. C-isotope values from this shale range from -29.46 / to -16.91 / PDB and TOC from 0.04% to 5.91%. Combined H/C, TOC, and local-regional isotopic correlations suggest that these values are representative of C-isotope composition of Neoproterozoic seawater. The composite C-isotope curve for the RPS is less negative values near the base, followed by a long decline to a thick interval of homogeneous lower values. Petrographic analyses reveal immature arkosic sandstone and mature quartz arenite populations. Detrital zircon data show an Archean population from the Wyoming Craton to the north and a mixed Proterozoic/Archean population from the east-southeast. Measured sections show north to south delta progradation with a proximal source to the north and a mature sediment source to the east. The composite section shows one low-order regressive cycle and ~11 high-order cycles. There is a relationship between C-isotope values, shale geochemistry, and lithostratigraphy. Less negative C-isotope values correspond with increased kaolinite and facies indicating higher sea-level. These relationships are seen in the correlative Chuar Group, Arizona, and a similar model is suggested for their origin: humid climate, high organic carbon burial rates, and high sea-level. This paper meets the requirements to revise the RPS as a formalized unit in accordance with the Stratigraphic Code guidelines.




This work was revised and made publicly available electronically on July 26, 2011

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