Stratigraphy and structure of the Sevier thrust belt and proximal foreland-basin system in central Utah: A transect from the Sevier Desert to the Wasatch Plateau

T. F. Lawton, D. A. Sprinkel, P. G. Decelles, G. Mitra, A. J. Sussman, M. P. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The Sevier orogenic belt in central Utah comprises four north-northwest trending thrust plates and two structural culminations that record crustal shortening and uplift in late Mesozoic and early Tertiary time. Synorogenic clastic rocks, mostly conglomerate and sandstone, exposed within the thrust belt were deposited in wedge-top and foredeep depozones within the proximal part of the foreland-basin system. The geologic relations preserved between thrust structures and synorogenic deposits demonstrate a foreland-breaking sequence of thrust deformation that was modified by minor out-of-sequence thrust displacement. Structural culminations in the interior part of the thrust belt deformed and uplifted some of the thrust sheets following their emplacement. Strata in the foreland basin indicate that the thrust sheets of central Utah were emplaced between latest Jurassic and Eocene time. The oldest strata of the foredeep depozone (Cedar Mountain Formation) are Neocomian and were derived from the hanging wall of the Canyon Range thrust. The foredeep depozone subsided most rapidly during Albian through Santonian or early Campanian time and accumulated about 2.5 km of conglomeratic strata (Indianola Group). The overlying North Horn Formation accumulated in a wedge-top basin from the Campanian to the Eocene and records propagation of the Gunnison thrust beneath the former foredeep. The Canyon Range Conglomerate of the Canyon Mountains, equivalent to the Indianola Group and the North Horn Formation, was deposited exclusively in a wedge-top setting on the Canyon Range and Pavant thrust sheets. This field trip, a three day, west-to-east traverse of the Sevier orogenic belt in central Utah, visits localities where timing of thrust structures is demonstrated by geometry of cross-cutting relations, growth strata associated with faults and folds, or deformation of foredeep deposits. Stops in the Canyon Mountains emphasize geometry of late structural culminations and relationships of the Canyon Range thrust to growth strata deposited in the wedge-top depozone. Stops in the San Pitch Mountains illustrate deposits of the foredeep depozone and younger, superjacent wedge-top depozone. Stops in the Sanpete Valley and western part of the Wasatch Plateau examine the evolution of the foreland-basin system from foredeep to wedge-top during growth of a triangle zone near the front of the Gunnison thrust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-67
Number of pages35
JournalBrigham Young University Geology Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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