Recent research has produced data useful in inferring burial depths for sandstones from compaction microtextures. Burial depths can also be inferred from erosional remnants and coal rank, among other means. These methods are especially useful over generally horizontal plains when other methods are unavailable to provide minimum overburden depths. That immense amounts of erosion occurred in the study area has long been recognized, but no effective lithification model has been available whereby to estimate burial depths or diagenetic environments. In this paper, we present research from the northern Great Plains focused on sandstones in an effort to develop a semi-quantitative lithification model for estimating initial overburden thickness (burial depth) and conditions of lithification. While development of such a model eludes us, approximations are possible and can be very helpful in studying Earth history.

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