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Palaeogeography of a shallow carbonate platform: The case of the Middle to Late Oxfordian in the Swiss Jura Mountains

Abstract : The Oxfordian (Late Jurassic) carbonate-dominated platform outcropping in the Swiss Jura Mountains offers a good biostratigraphic, sequence-stratigraphic, and cyclostratigraphic framework to reconstruct changes in facies distribution at a time-resolution of 100 ka. It thus allows interpreting the dynamic evolution of this platform in much more detail than conventional palaeogeographic maps permit. As an example, a Middle to Late Oxfordian time slice is presented, spanning an interval of about 1.6 Ma. The study is based on 12 sections logged at cm-scale. The interpreted depositional environments include marginal-marine emerged lands, fresh-water lakes, tidal flats, shallow lagoons, ooid shoals, and coral reefs. Although limestones dominate, marly intervals and dolomites occur sporadically. Major facies shifts are related to m-scale sea-level changes linked to the orbital short eccentricity cycle (100 ka). The 20-ka precession cycle caused minor facies changes but cannot always be resolved. Synsedimentary tectonics induced additional accommodation changes by creating shallow basins where clays accumulated or highs on which shoals or islands formed. Autocyclic processes such as lateral migration of ooid and bioclastic shoals added to the sedimentary record. Climate changes intervened to control terrestrial run-off and, consequently, siliciclastic and nutrient input. Coral reefs reacted to such input by becoming dominated by microbialites and eventually by being smothered. Concomitant occurrence of siliciclastics and dolomite in certain intervals further suggests that, at times, it was relatively arid in the study area but there was rainfall in more northern latitudes, eroding the Hercynian substrate. These examples from the Swiss Jura demonstrate the highly dynamic and (geologically speaking) rapid evolution of sedimentary systems, in which tectonically controlled basin morphology, orbitally induced climate and sea-level changes, currents, and the ecology of the carbonate-producing organisms interacted to form the observed stratigraphic record. However, the interpretations have to be treated with caution because the km-wide spacing between the studied sections is too large to monitor the small-scale facies mosaics as they can be observed on modern platforms and as they certainly also occurred in the past.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 11:01:35 AM
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Andre Strasser, Bernard Pittet, Wolfgang Hug. Palaeogeography of a shallow carbonate platform: The case of the Middle to Late Oxfordian in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Journal of Palaeogeography-English, 2015, 4 (3), pp.251-268. ⟨10.1016/j.jop.2015.08.005⟩. ⟨hal-02341072⟩

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