Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Benjamin Burger


Benjamin Burger


Kenneth Carpenter


Carol Dehler


The Early Cretaceous (Barremian-Albian) Burro Canyon Formation in Eastern Utah and Western Colorado is a dominantly fluvial system that resembles the Cedar Mountain Formation, a correlative unit that lies across the Colorado River and is famous for recent dinosaur discoveries, The Burro Canyon Formation is arbitrarily split from the Cedar Mountain Formation using the Colorado River as a dividing line. This non-stratigraphic means of splitting one unit from the other is largely due to convention and it has become entrenched in the literature.

Sections measured on Hotel Mesa and Buckhorn Mesa, both in eastern Grand County, Utah, were made in order to better delineate the contact between the two formations in this remote area on the Uncompahgre Plateau. The section on Hotel Mesa is in the Poison Strip Sandstone Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation as demonstrated by correlation to nearby established measured sections.

Multiple paleocurrents were taken on Buckhorn Mesa, along with three new measured sections. These measured sections and paleoflows were then used to determine whether these rocks are likely to be in the Burro Canyon Formation or the Cedar Mountain Formation. Facies were established for the outcrops, with preliminary facies associations then being developed and outlined on photographs.

Analyses show that these fluvial sandstones on this edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau are all in the Poison Strip Sandstone Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation. Also, no other Early Cretaceous sediments are found on this entire portion of the Plateau, as illustrated using panoramic photographs.