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Clayton Jones

Possibly bioturbated sandstone?

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Clayton Jones

I've been adventuring my family property in north-western Pottawatomie county, Oklahoma, for 15 years or so and I've always thought all this sandstone was kinda boring - there didn't seem to be any obvious strata, or differences in composition and no fossils.

On Christmas day, however, I went out on the family property to do a bit of photogrammetry of the sandstone outcrops on the property and I stumbled upon a very interesting pattern in the sandstone:



I have been told that it looks like bioturbated sandstone, and it certainly looks like some kind of biological pattern. This sandstone belongs to the garber formation in central Oklahoma, and is Permian in age. This is the only place I've seen such a pattern anywhere around here.

Is anyone familiar with the garber sandstone or perhaps with similar formations/trace fossils?

 

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Rockwood
4 hours ago, Clayton Jones said:

didn't seem to be any obvious strata

I was surprised to hear that bioturbation is a leading cause of this lack in many situations.

I know nothing about your area though. 

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GeschWhat

Very interesting. Your 3D interactive image is wonderful. What did you use to create it?

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Clayton Jones

@Rockwood, I can provide scans and photos later of what most of the sandstone looks like in the area. It's all mostly solid and featureless sand that has been poorly-cemented into a very soft stone, worn to a rounded shape out of hillsides and drainage areas.

There is at least one layer of varying thickness on my property that has definite cross bedding in it, a thick layer of red clay about 5 feet below my bioturbated sandstone and an area that has darker sandstone that is much harder than usual above everything else.

@GeschWhat I used Agisoft Photoscan and a Nikon D3100 to take the photos that were used to produce the model. Blender was used to add the scale bar and to finalize the whole model before upload.

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Rockwood
44 minutes ago, Clayton Jones said:

I can provide scans and photos later of what most of the sandstone looks like in the area. It's all mostly solid and featureless sand that has been poorly-cemented into a very soft stone, worn to a rounded shape out of hillsides and drainage areas.

Could help someone, but I would be even more over my head than usual trying to interpret it. :wacko:

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Clayton Jones

@Rockwood I don't know much more than what little information I can find, it would seem that the garber formation in this area is kinda understudied except maybe as an aquifer.

Any information on the geology of what I'm looking at would be nice.

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doushantuo

Most work on the Permian of Oklahoma was done in the 1930's(Green,Patterson,Foley,Dott,all in the AAPG Bulletin))

below:Garber barite concretions

qugdelptttympwillist.jpg

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Rockwood
4 hours ago, Clayton Jones said:

Any information on the geology of what I'm looking at would be nice.

Sea levels were exceptionally low during much of the Permian. It seems possible that you have a biologically active marine environment that was left high and dry. Absent a mechanism for rapid deposition of sediments, body fossils may not have formed. 

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Missourian

I'm not sure about the sandstone in the 3D graphic, but the sandstone in the link surely does look like filled burrows.

 

As for the geology, it is possible the Garber and adjacent strata could be part of a clastic wedge from the Quachita highlands... or at least that's been my understanding of the Pennsylvanian-Permian geology of Oklahoma as it relates to that of Kansas. This diagram illustrates this on a very basic level:

 

fig4.gif.1497e3c7206c31307ccf40f293ad95d5.gif

 

( http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Publications/Bulletins/217/02_intro.html )

 

It is possible there were some marine incursions into your area that would support bioturbating critters.

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Clayton Jones

@Missourian Thank you for the information, I haven't seen that particular map in my searches. 

@Rockwood The layer this bioturbation comes from has no cross-bedding and is only slightly fissile, whereas most rocks in the area don't really want to split into any layers of any size. There is a layer present on the property, several feet below the bioturbation, that shows some good cross-bedding and it seems to range from around four inches in the area of the bioturbation to maybe six feet or more further east on the property - I have yet to confirm that these two layers of cross-bedding are the same layer though.

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Rockwood
3 hours ago, Clayton Jones said:

The layer this bioturbation comes from has no cross-bedding and is only slightly fissile, whereas most rocks in the area don't really want to split into any layers of any size. There is a layer present on the property, several feet below the bioturbation, that shows some good cross-bedding and it seems to range from around four inches in the area of the bioturbation to maybe six feet or more further east on the property - I have yet to confirm that these two layers of cross-bedding are the same layer though.

Cross-bedded sandstone is often the result of dune activity. This was apparently a dynamic area during a dynamic time. Too much of a moving target for me.  

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Clayton Jones

@Rockwood only a single layer appears to have cross-bedding, all the other sandstone seems to be fairly homogeneous and feature free.

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Rockwood
12 hours ago, Clayton Jones said:

@Rockwood only a single layer appears to have cross-bedding, all the other sandstone seems to be fairly homogeneous and feature free.

Cross-bedding can also be formed in rivers. Conceivably even by a storm in a desert. 

This sort of problem is a bit like a rubric's cube. There are many solutions that almost fit, but it takes a lot of work to make all the pieces fit right.  

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Clayton Jones

It's been a while, but here is a better view of these patterns from a sample I've collected. The patterns aren't very easy to distinguish color or texture-wise, but they are fairly evident when the light hits the surface just right.

 

bioturbation whitebox 01b.jpg

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Plax

they look like trace fossils to me. Perhaps arthrophycus/paleophycus but I'm way off your location so take that with a grain of salt.

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JesseKoz

Hi Clayton. I've found very similar fossils to your image at a few locations nearby. I believe they are the trace fossils of microbial mats. The fossils I've found date to the Cambrian/Ordovician. Looking for examples of microbial mats I came across this image, which according to the website is also from Oklahoma. Website labels the fossil as coming from the Hartshorne Sandstone formation and says it is created from "MISS" (Microbially Induced Sedimentary Structures).

 

stromatolite-microbial-mat.jpg

'https://www.fossilera.com/fossils/4-5-fossil-stromatolite-microbial-mat-oklahoma'

 

This recent post of mine contains images of smaller, weathered sections of similar microbial mats to your image.

 

 

Edited by JesseKoz

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Clayton Jones

@Plax arthrophycus does indeed seem to resemble the patterns in my sandstone very well, being a branched 'tubular' pattern. I will be 3D scanning the specimens I've collected for a better comparison.

@JesseKoz the patterns in my sandstone are more regular in diameter than those in the microbial mat fossils, the patterns don't seem to be very similar.

The sandstone my fossils come out of are Permian red beds, specifically the garber formation. I don't know how common microbial mat trace fossils are in this formation, fossils in general are pretty rare here in this sandstone.

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