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Aztec Sandstone
Stratigraphic range: Early Jurassic
Outcrop of the Aztec Sandstone at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas, Nevada
Type Sedimentary
Underlies Willow Tank Formation
Overlies Chinle Formation
Area Nevada, Arizona, California
Thickness 2,100 ft (640 m) in Goodsprings quadrangle
2,500 ft (760 m) in Muddy Mountain area
Primary sandstone
Other arenite, sand
Coordinates 35°24′N 115°30′W / 35.4°N 115.5°W / 35.4; -115.5
Approximate paleocoordinates 20°48′N 53°24′W / 20.8°N 53.4°W / 20.8; -53.4
Region Mojave Desert
Country  United States
Type section
Named by D. F. Hewett
Year defined 1931

The Aztec Sandstone is an Early Jurassic geological formation of primarily eolian sand from which fossil pterosaur tracks have been recovered. The formation is exposed in the Mojave Desert of Arizona, California and Nevada.


The Aztec Sandstone is made up of two units. The lower resistant sandstone unit (100 metres (330 ft) thick) is tan to off-white in outcrops but pinkish in fresh exposures. Crosbedded lenses can easily be observed. Frosted and pitted quartz grains well-cemented by silica are described by Evans in 1958 and 1971. The upper and less resistant unit (200m thick) consists of alternating white quartz arenites and red to brown silty sands.

Vertebrate paleofauna

The formation has provided the following ichnofossils attributed to vertebrates:

Ichnofossils of the Aztec Sandstone
Genus Species Location Member Abundance Notes Images
Anchisauripus Reclassified as Grallator
Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
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