SUBSTRATE ENTRAINMENT, DEPOSITIONAL RELIEF, AND SEDIMENT CAPTURE: IMPACT OF A SUBMARINE LANDSLIDE ON FLOW PROCESS AND SEDIMENT SUPPLY

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Authors

Ander Martínez-Doñate, Aurelia Marie-Luce Privat, David Mark Hodgson , Chris Jackson, Ian Kane, Yvonne Spychala, Robert Anthony Duller, Christopher Stevenson, Edward Keavney, Ernesto Schwarz, Stephen S. Flint

Abstract

Submarine landslides can generate complicated patterns of seafloor relief that influence subsequent flow behaviour and sediment dispersal patterns. While the large-scale morphology of submarine landslide deposits, or mass transport deposits (MTDs), can be resolved in seismic data, the nature of their upper surface, and its impact on facies distributions and stratal architecture of overlying deposits, is rarely resolvable. MTD is a commonly used term in subsurface studies, covering a range of processes and resultant deposits that can not be resolved in seismic or core-based datasets. However, field-based studies often allow a more detailed characterisation of the deposit. The early post-rift Middle Jurassic deep-water succession of the Los Molles Formation is exceptionally well-exposed along a dip-orientated WSW-ENE outcrop belt in the Chacay Melehue depocentre, Neuquén Basin, Argentina. We correlate 27 sedimentary logs constrained by marker beds to document the sedimentology and architecture of a >47 m thick and at least 9.6 km long mud-rich debrite. The debrite overlies ramps and steps, indicating erosion and substrate entrainment. Megaclasts sourced from shallow-marine environments support a shallow marine origin of the mass failure. Two distinct sandstone-dominated units overlie the debrite. The lower sandstone unit is characterised by: i) abrupt thickness changes, wedging and progressive rotation of laminae in sandstone beds associated with growth strata; and ii) detached sandstone load balls within the underlying debrite. The combination of these features suggests syn-sedimentary foundering processes due to density instabilities at the top of the fluid-saturated mud-rich debrite. The debrite relief controlled the spatial distribution of foundered sandstones. The upper sandstone unit is characterised by thin-bedded deposits, locally overlain by medium- to thick-bedded lobe axis/off-axis deposits. The thin-beds show local thinning and onlapping onto the debrite, where it develops its highest relief. Facies distributions and stacking patterns record the progradation of submarine lobes and their complex interaction with long-lived debrite-related topography. These characteristics can help us understand post-depositional processes above MTDs and predict facies distributions and palaeoenvironments in subsurface datasets. The emplacement of a kilometre-scale debrite in an otherwise mud-rich basinal setting and accumulation of overlying sand-rich deposits suggests a genetic link between the mass-wasting event and transient coarse clastic sediment supply to an otherwise sand-starved part of the basin.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5XW5N

Subjects

Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Keywords

Neuquén Basin, Dynamic topography, Submarine lobe, Foundering, Dynamic topography, Relief, Confinement, Foundering, Relief, Neuquén Basin

Dates

Published: 2021-08-23 17:29

Last Updated: 2021-08-23 20:28

License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:
None

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