This project was a NSF-funded collaborative research project entitled: Collaborative Research: Deciphering Eolian Paleoenvironmental and Hydrodynamic records: Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, Colorado Plateau, USA This was a multifaceted interdisciplinary study of the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone (Ss)--a unique and distinctive unit in all of geologic history. This unit represents the largest known ancient desert (erg), and is typically classified as a record of a hyperarid environment. Furthermore, the Navajo Ss was deposited at a time when mammals were undergoing their first major diversification, and dinosaurs began to dominate the landscape in number and diversity. Our goal was to examine sedimentary features of the erg margin that recorded the active paleohydrology of the desert regime, and examine abundant trace- and body-fossil material to more fully document the structure and evolution of the biota in a variably arid landscape through Navajo Ss deposition. Field studies involved sedimentology and paleoecology. Laboratory studies involved isotope geochemistry of carbonate deposits, as well as thin section petrography.
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