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1 April 2019 Chronostratigraphic Revision of the Cloverly Formation (Lower Cretaceous, Western Interior, USA)
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Abstract

The Cloverly Formation is an important geologic unit for understanding the development of North American terrestrial landscapes and ecosystems, but the age of this unit is poorly constrained. We report U–Pb radiometric dates determined by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and chemical abrasion thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-TIMS) from euhedral zircons derived from fluvial sandstone and bentonitic claystone. We reanalyzed published biostratigraphic, paleomagnetic, and radiometric datasets, which have generally disregarded younger (late Albian–Cenomanian) ages for the formation. New data reported in this study suggest that deposition of the Cloverly Formation spanned the Valanginian–Cenomanian stages (ca. 140 Ma–98 Ma), a longer time interval than the commonly cited Aptian–Albian depositional timeframe. The lowest member of the Cloverly Formation, the Pryor Conglomerate, was deposited ca. 140–130 Ma in response to the onset of the Sevier Orogeny shedding sediment from the west. The overlying Little Sheep Mudstone Member was deposited ca. 124–109 Ma in a time of low sediment supply. In the mid–late Albian to early Cenomanian (ca. 109–98 Ma), sediment sourced from the east was deposited as the Himes Member and Greybull Sandstone. Following this, the Sykes Mountain Formation began nearshore deposition as the Western Interior Seaway transgressed from the north. Our revised chronostratigraphic framework for the Cloverly Formation is congruent with tectonic subsidence analysis showing a rapid increase in accommodation space in the mid-Albian. We hypothesize that more intensive sampling may yield multiple fossil assemblages within the formation, paralleling its correlates to the south. Furthermore, we hypothesize that some poorly represented taxa will be synonymized with taxa from those same units now that their temporal equivalence has been demonstrated.

© 2019 Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University. All rights reserved
Michael D. D'Emic, Brady Z. Foreman, Nathan A. Jud, Brooks B. Britt, Mark Schmitz, and James L. Crowley "Chronostratigraphic Revision of the Cloverly Formation (Lower Cretaceous, Western Interior, USA)," Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 60(1), 3-40, (1 April 2019). https://doi.org/10.3374/014.060.0101
Received: 25 April 2018; Accepted: 24 August 2018; Published: 1 April 2019
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