Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Geology of the Whetstone anticline area, Teton County Wyoming

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  • Over 10,000 feet of marine and nonmarine Late Cretaceous sedimentary rocks are exposed within a 110 square mile area in northeastern Teton County, Wyoming. An additional 1400 feet of nonmarine Paleocene and Miocene rocks overlie these. Landslide deposits and Pleistocene glacial moraine cover over one-half of the area. The Late Cretaceous Cody Shale and Bacon Ridge Sandstone, which are the oldest rocks exposed, represent the last marine invasion of the region. The overlying Late Cretaceous nonmarine rocks consist of the Coaly Sequence, Lenticular Sandstone and Shale Sequence, Mesaverde Formation, and Harebell Formation. These formations are composed largely of poorly sorted quartz arenites with intercalated mudstones, claystones, shales, and coals. A few quartzite conglomerate lenses are present near the top of the sequence. These rocks, which contain numerous quartz, chert, and metaquartzite grains, were derived from Precambrian metamorphic and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks exposed to the west and northwest. The sediments were carried into the area by streams and were deposited on a broad coastal plain similar to the modern Texas Gulf Coast. Many of the fine-grained sediments were deposited in swamps and small freshwater lakes. Near the end of Cretaceous time, a large area of Precambrian Beltian quartzite was exposed in central Montana. Powerful streams carried large volumes of coarse sediments into the area mapped forming the Paleocene Pinyon Conglomerate. Basalt and andesite were extruded locally during the Miocene. Morainal deposits from two Pleistocene glacial stages are recognized. Two periods of Laramide deformation are represented by broad asymmetric folds. The Spread Creek anticline, a large doubly plunging fold, was formed near the end of Cretaceous time. Three adjacent folds to the northeast are post-Paleocene in age. Several high-angle faults are present. Structural and stratigraphic conditions appear to be favorable for the formation and accumulation of oil and gas. However, five dry oil and gas test holes have been drilled. The possibilities of finding commercial production are not encouraging. The area has also been prospected for coal and alluvial gold.
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