Rocky shorelines are relatively common features along modern coastlines, but few have been recognized in the geological record. The hard substrates of rocky shorelines telescope the width of offshore marine environments, thus the diagnostic deposits observed in such settings today have a low preservation potential due to small accommodation space and high‐energy conditions. This study recognized previously overlooked, laterally extensive Lower(?) Devonian rocky shoreline deposits in the San Juan Mountains of south‐western Colorado. The newly defined lithostratigraphic unit, the East Lime Creek Conglomerate (ELCC), is 0–23 m thick, unconformably overlying Proterozoic crystalline rocks and unconformably overlain by the Upper Devonian Ignacio Formation and/or Elbert Formation. The unit mostly consists of clast‐supported cobble‐boulder conglomerate with rounded quartzite clasts up to 1.4 m in length interbedded with thin sandstone layers and lenses. Sandstones in the ELCC are distinguished from unconformably overlying Upper Devonian sedimentary rocks because they have sericite cements. Most importantly, there are buttressing relationships between the ELCC and underlying Proterozoic crystalline rocks interpreted as palaeo‐sea cliffs, palaeo‐wave‐cut platforms and palaeo‐tombolos. A proposed rocky shoreline facies model includes headlands with upper shoreface‐beachface tabular cobble‐boulder gravels sourced from rock fall talus, nearshore subaqueous debris‐flow deposits and intervening pocket beaches with imbricated, stratified pebble‐cobble gravel sheets. Palaeocurrent data (n = 338) from clast long‐axis orientations, imbrication and cross‐bedding indicate south‐to‐north transport roughly onshore‐offshore to a coastline consisting of alternating rocky headlands and pocket beaches. This Lower(?) Devonian unit documents a previously unrecognized episode in the geological history of south‐western Colorado.
|Title||Processes and facies relationships in a Lower(?) Devonian rocky shoreline depositional environment, East Lime Creek Conglomerate, south‐western Colorado, USA|
|Authors||James E. Evans, Christopher S. Holm-Denoma|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||The Depositional Record|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center|