A paleosol located within the Jurassic-Paleogene unconformity of Salina Canyon, Utah provides the opportunity to better understand the Cretaceous environment once present in central Utah. This paper presents data collected from this paleosol and discusses its significance. Trace fossils from burrowing insects, root traces from vegetation, variant mottling, and nodule horizons provide a snapshot of this paleoenvironment. Through an analysis of this data, we propose the development of two paleosols (Paleosol 1 and Paleosol 2) with varying levels of soil development. The first is composed of A and B horizons, developed from Jurassic sediments of the Twist Gulch Formation. This paleosol is dominated by high levels of bioturbation in the form of Adhesive Meniscate Burrows (AMB) from insects similar in morphology to Naktoemasis bowni, proposed by Smith et al. (2008). Paleosol 2 also contains A and B horizons which accumulated over Paleosol 1. Paleosol 2 shows the preservation of drab-haloed root traces, the more limited presence of AMBs, and a carbonate nodule horizon. Through the division of these distinct horizons at Salina Canyon paleosol, we believe a previously unidentified portion of the Paleogene Flagstaff Formation exists directly above the paleosols. The existence of the Salina Canyon paleosol provides information at an unconformity that spans just over 100 Million years and the entirety of the Cretaceous Period. Using the interpretations of the environment which formed paleosols 1 and 2, we believe that they were developed during the Early Cretaceous.


Judge, Shelley




Geology | Paleontology | Sedimentology | Soil Science

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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