Previously described organic-rich shale facies of the Meade Peak Member of the Phosphoria Formation at Soda Springs, Idaho, consist of well-sorted, laminated siltstone containing little or no clay. The planar-parallel fabric preserved in many of the siltstone beds suggests suspension settling onto the outer shelf or upper slope, most likely under low oxygen conditions. Evidence for transport of silt to the depositional site by sediment gravity flows is absent, as are sandstone beds. We propose that Meade Peak siltstone facies record subaqueous deposition of windborne silt that was transported southward from central Montana. As such, they provide the first direct geologic evidence of a wind regime favorable for marine upwelling, the process commonly postulated to have localized the deposition of Permian phosphatic sediments. They may also provide indirect evidence of upwind eolian sand transport at that time.
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|Published - Nov 1998