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Overall Concepts

The workshop addressed several broad questions that could be profitably addressed in the Colorado Plateau venue. These include: what are the global or regional climate trends vs. plate position changes in “hot house” Pangea? how do largely fluvial systems respond to cyclical climate? what are the rates and magnitudes of the transition from the Paleozoic to essentially modern terrestrial ecosystems? and how does the stratigraphy reflect the interplay between growth in accommodation, uplift, and eustatic fluctuations? Based on these questions, the workshop identified goals attainable by coring of key Triassic/Jurassic sections:

  1. Establishment of paleogeographic boundary conditions, particularly changes in paleolatitude, of western Pangea during Late Triassic to Late Jurassic time.

  2. Development of the highest-resolution, integrated magnetostratigraphy for Early Triassic through Late Jurassic strata to facilitate detailed correlation with established chronologies and climatic cyclicities of the Newark basins of eastern North America and the Tethyan, Germanic, English, and Chinese marine and continental sections.

  3. Determination of how paleoclimates are expressed through time in the sedimentary record of western Pangea, including major climate changes, and testing this high-resolution paleoclimate record against other parts of Pangea and subsequent fragments permitting appropriate-scale tests of climate models.

  4. Identification of the stratigraphic position of major global biotic transitions (i.e. Permo-Triassic, Triassic-Jurassic, and Toarcian extinctions)

  5. Refinement of lithostratigraphic and biostratigraphic correlations, considering regional unconformities and their possible relationship to proposed eustatic sea-level fluctuations and tectonic events (c.f., Bachmann and Kozur, 2004).

  6. Development of a chemostratigraphic (δ13C, cuticular CO2 proxy, Nd, Sr, clays, etc.) reference sections.

  7. Improvement to U-Pb zircon provenance stratigraphy and geochronology of ash beds.

  8. Definition of unambiguous links among the temporal evolution of the Colorado Plateau sedimentary record and rifting of Pangea, the emplacement of the Siberian, Central Atlantic Magmatic, and Karoo flood basalt provinces, and possibly the opening of the Atlantic Ocean.