Comparison of modern deposits in the Panamint Valley, western United States, to core and geophysical data from a Permian (Rotliegend, Germany) tight gas field allows for improved understanding of the interaction of tectonics and sedimentary processes during Rotliegend deposition. The Panamint Valley was selected for a modern analog of the subsurface Rotliegend Basin because both study sites are characterized by (1) elongated grabens with large-scale bounding fault zones resulting from synsedimentary transtensional tectonics; (2) fault-controlled paleotopography as key controlling parameter for the sediment facies distribution, including alluvial fans, dunes, wet and damp interdune sandflats, and ephemeral dry lake deposits; and (3) local sediment provenance from sedimentary and volcanic rocks. The analysis of satellite images and field data from the Panamint Valley enabled the development of a conceptual model involving topography, synsedimentary faulting, and wind activity as controlling factors for the sediment facies distribution. The application of the model to the reconstructed Rotliegend paleotopography of the German subsurface study site allows for prediction of the facies distribution prior to the Triassic–Cretaceous tectonic overprinting. As a consequence, we expect a sediment facies succession from (1) alluvial fan deposits along the hanging walls of the basin-bounding fault zones to (2) distributary fluvial channel deposits toward the basin center and (3) ephemeral lake deposits in the deepest basin area. (4) Eolian dune accumulation and preservation is mainly concentrated on hanging-wall locations. However, additional dune deposits are proposed above overlapping step faults and on footwalls of synsedimentary active faults. (5) Sandflats occur on the upwind and downwind margins of the dune field. These predictions are calibrated to core and geophysical well log data.
- Received 27 May 2011.
- Revision received 3 May 2012.
- Accepted 29 May 2012.
- © 2012 Geological Society of America