Evolution of a mixed siliciclastic-carbonate deep-marine system on an unstable margin: the Cretaceous of the Eastern Greater Caucasus, Azerbaijan

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1111/bre.12488. This is version 3 of this Preprint.


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Zoe Adele Cumberpatch, Euan Soutter , Ian Kane, Max Casson, Stephen Vincent


Mixed siliciclastic-carbonate deep-marine systems (mixed systems) are less documented in the geological record than pure siliciclastic systems. The similarities and differences between these systems are therefore poorly understood. A well-exposed Late Cretaceous mixed system on the northern side of the Eastern Greater Caucasus (EGC), Azerbaijan, provides an opportunity to study the interaction between contemporaneous siliciclastic and carbonate deep-marine deposition. Facies analysis reveals a Cenomanian–early Turonian siliciclastic submarine channel complex that abruptly transitions into a Mid Turonian–Maastrichtian mixed lobe-dominated succession. The channels are entrenched in lows on the palaeo-seafloor but are absent 10 km towards the west where an Early Cretaceous submarine landslide complex acted as a topographic barrier to deposition. By the Campanian, this topography was largely healed allowing extensive deposition of the mixed lobe- dominated succession. Evidence for irregular bathymetry is recorded by opposing palaeoflow indicators and frequent submarine landslides. The overall sequence is interpreted to represent the abrupt transition from Cenomanian–early Turonian siliciclastic progradation to c. Mid Turonian retrogradation, followed by a gradual return to progradation in the Santonian–Maastrichtian. The siliciclastic systems periodically punctuate a more widely extensive calcareous system from the Mid Turonian onwards, resulting in a mixed deep-marine system. Mixed lobes differ from their siliciclastic counterparts in that they contain both siliciclastic and calcareous depositional elements making determining distal and proximal environments challenging using conventional terminology and complicate palaeogeographic interpretations. Modulation and remobilisation also occurs between the two contemporaneous systems making stacking patterns difficult to decipher. The results provide insight into the behaviour of multiple contemporaneous deep-marine fans, an aspect that is challenging to decipher in non-mixed systems. The study area is comparable in terms of facies, architectures and the presence of widespread instability to offshore The Gambia, NW Africa, and could form a suitable analogue for mixed deep-marine systems observed elsewhere.




Earth Sciences, Geology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Azerbaijan, Caucasus, deep-marine, mixed-system, siliciclastic-carbonate


Published: 2020-02-20 15:03

Last Updated: 2020-07-22 01:50

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