Eocene lakebed sediments at Stonerose Interpretive Center in Republic, Washington, USA are one of the most important Cenozoic fossil sites in North America, having gained international attention because of the abundance and diversity of plant, insect, and fish fossils. This report describes the first detailed geologic investigation of this unusual lagerstätten. Strata are gradationally divided into three units: Siliceous shale that originated as diatomite, overlain by laminated mudstone, which is in turn overlain by massive beds of lithic sandstone. The sedimentary sequence records topographic and hydrologic changes that caused a deep lake to become progressively filled with volcaniclastic detritus from earlier volcanic episodes. The location of the ancient lake within an active graben suggests that displacements along the boundary faults were the most likely trigger for changes in depositional processes.
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