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Walking on water? Not really, but these ripples, now petrified, formed under shallow water and are exposed on the floor of a quarry at the Varvito Park, Ito, Brazil. They are part of exposures of Permian sandstone from the Itararé Group. The ripple crests are mostly linear and the profile of the ripple is asymmetric, allowing to reconstruct the direction of flow (towards the viewer).
Current ripples are small asymmetric bedforms generated by movement of fine-grained sediment under unidirectional currents. The presence of climbing ripple lamination indicates rapid deposition from a sediment-laden flow. Upward transition from planar lamination to current ripple lamination is indicative of flow deceleration. Sequence of sedimentary structures (cf. Bouma sequence), grain size decrease, and cyclical repetition of bedding points to deposition from turbidity currents. Photo taken at the Varvito Park, Ito, Brazil, with exposures of Permian strata from the Itararé Group. Scale in cm.
When a fluid laden with sediment rapidly drops some of its load as it is flowing, a sedimentary structure named "climbing ripple lamination" can form. It is characterized by superimposed ripple crests (or ripple cross-sets) migrating in the direction of flow. Photo taken at the Varvito Park, Ito, Brazil, with exposures of Permian strata from the Itararé Group. Scale in cm.
Cross-sectional view of a calcareous mudstone to fine-sandstone bed, showing planar lamination passing upward to ripple-cross lamination. The symmetric shape of the ripples, the presence of foreset laminae dipping in opposite directions, and some lamina draping suggest that the cross-lamination was likely generated by wave-ripples. The sequence from planar lamination to ripple cross-lamination can be indicative of decreasing velocity of bottom currents (or changes in sediment grainsize and supply rate). Diameter of lens cap is 6 cm. Photo taken at the I-70 roadcut, near Morrison, Colorado (Cretaceous Dakota Group).
Wave ripples in surface view (scale is 40 cm long). The crests are straight and regularly spaced. However, the overlying thin layer (top of the picture) shows a more disorganized pattern, partly reflecting the underlying crest orientation but probably indicating changing wave conditions. The preservation of these bedforms (that typically form in shallow water) can help to reconstruct the environment of deposition of sedimentary layers. Outcrop of the Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone, exposed along Dinosaur Ridge, Golden, Colorado.