Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




David Andersen


carbonates, Death Valley, Devonian, Lost Burro Gap

Subject Areas

Geology; Sedimentary geology


An in-depth study of a 9.6-m interval within the Lost Burro Formation, exposed in Death Valley National Park, California, was undertaken in order to ascertain whether or not the banding within the unit represents systematic changes in the depositional environments. In the course of this study, 57 thin sections were made and examined, resulting in the identification of six Standard Microfacies (SMFs) in the measured section. The carbonate rocks were interpreted to preserve a range of environments from shallow subtidal normal marine environments, lagoons or restricted marine environments, and tidal channels to intertidal flats, upper intertidal ponds and supratidal flats. The sandstones were interpreted to preserve supratidal environments. Combining this information with field observations, seven complete parasequences were delineated. Of them, two were interpreted to represent upward-shallowing parasequences, whereas five others showed intra-sequence deepening. Systematic changes in depositional environments were not identified. These data were more completely described by the parasequence definition proposed by Spence and Tucker that allows for intra-sequence deepening rather than the shallowing upward definition previously outlined by Van Wagoner et al.