Palaeoenvironment of braided fluvial systems in different tectonic realms of the Triassic Sherwood Sandstone Group, UK

Abstract : Fluvial successions comprising the fills of sedimentary basins occur in a variety of tectonic realms related to extensional, compressional and strike-slip settings, as well as on slowly subsiding, passive basin margins. A major rifting phase affected NW Europe during the Triassic and resulted in the generation of numerous sedimentary basins. In the UK, much of the fill of these basins is represented by fluvial and aeolian successions of the Sherwood Sandstone Group. Additionally, regions that experienced slow rates of Mesozoic subsidence unrelated to Triassic rifting also acted as sites of accumulation of the Sherwood Sandstone Group, one well-exposed example being the eastern England Shelf. The fluvial depositional architecture of deposits of the Sherwood Sandstone Group of the eastern England Shelf (a shelf-edge basin) is compared with similar fluvial deposits of the St Bees Sandstone Formation, eastern Irish Sea Basin (a half-graben). The two studied successions represent the preserved deposits of braided fluvial systems that were influenced by common allogenic factors (climate, sediment source, delivery style); differences in preserved sedimentary style principally reflect their different tectonics settings. Analysis of lithofacies and architectural elements demonstrates that both studied successions are characterized by amalgamated channel-fill elements that are recorded predominantly by downstream-accreting sandy barforms. The different tectonic settings in which the two braided-fluvial systems accumulated exerted a dominant control on preserved sedimentary style and long-term preservation potential. On the eastern England Shelf, the vertical stacking of pebbly units and the general absence of fine-grained units reflect a slow rate of sediment accommodation generation (18-19.4 m/Myr). In this shelf-edge basin, successive fluvial cycles repeatedly reworked the uppermost parts of earlier fluvial deposits such that only the lowermost channel lags tend to be preserved. By contrast, in the eastern Irish Sea Basin of west Cumbria, the rate of sediment accommodation generation was substantially greater (119 m/Myr) such that space was available to preserve complete fluvial cycles, including silty drape units that cap the channelized deposits. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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G. Medici, Kévin Boulesteix, N. P. Mountney, L. J. West, N. E. Odling. Palaeoenvironment of braided fluvial systems in different tectonic realms of the Triassic Sherwood Sandstone Group, UK. Sedimentary Geology, 2015, 329, pp.188-210. ⟨10.1016/j.sedgeo.2015.09.012⟩. ⟨hal-02341071⟩

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