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Clinoform nucleation and growth in coarse-grained deltas, Loreto basin, Baja California Sur, Mexico : a response to episodic accelerations in fault displacement

  • We investigate the controls on the architecture of coarse-grained delta progradational units (PUs) in the Pliocene Loreto basin (Baja California Sur, Mexico), a half-graben located on the western margin of the Gulf of California. Dorsey et al. (1997b) argued that delta progradation and transgression cycles in the basin were driven by episodic fault-controlled subsidence along the basin-bounding Loreto fault. Here we test this hypothesis by a detailed analysis of the sedimentary architecture of 11 exceptionally well-exposed, vertically arranged fluvio-deltaic PUs, each of which shows lateral facies transition from proximal alluvial facies palaeo-seaward into distal pro-delta facies. Of these 11 PUs, seven exhibit a lateral transition from a shoal water to Gilbert-delta facies associations as they are traced palaeo-seaward. This transition is characterised by down-transport development of foresets, which grow in height up to 35 m. Foreset units thicken in a basinward direction, with initially an oblique topset-foreset geometry thatWe investigate the controls on the architecture of coarse-grained delta progradational units (PUs) in the Pliocene Loreto basin (Baja California Sur, Mexico), a half-graben located on the western margin of the Gulf of California. Dorsey et al. (1997b) argued that delta progradation and transgression cycles in the basin were driven by episodic fault-controlled subsidence along the basin-bounding Loreto fault. Here we test this hypothesis by a detailed analysis of the sedimentary architecture of 11 exceptionally well-exposed, vertically arranged fluvio-deltaic PUs, each of which shows lateral facies transition from proximal alluvial facies palaeo-seaward into distal pro-delta facies. Of these 11 PUs, seven exhibit a lateral transition from a shoal water to Gilbert-delta facies associations as they are traced palaeo-seaward. This transition is characterised by down-transport development of foresets, which grow in height up to 35 m. Foreset units thicken in a basinward direction, with initially an oblique topset-foreset geometry that becomes increasingly sigmoidal. Each delta is capped by a shell bed that records drowning of the delta top. This systematic transition in delta architecture records increasing water depth through time during individual episodes of progradation. A mechanism that explains this transition is an accelerating rate of fault-controlled subsidence during each PU. During episodes of low slip rate, shoal-water deltas prograde across the submerged topography of the underlying delta unit. As displacement rate accelerates, increasing bathymetry at the delta front leads to steepening of foresets and initiation of Gilbert deltas. Subsequent delta drowning results from sediment starvation at the shoreline at high slip rates because of sediment trapping upstream. The observed delta architecture suggests that the long-term (> 100 kyr) history of slip on the Loreto fault was characterised by repetitive episodes of accelerating displacement accumulation. Such episodic fault behaviour is most likely to be because of variations in temporal and spatial strain partitioning between the Loreto fault and other faults in the Gulf of California. A physical explanation for the acceleration phenomenon involves evolving frictional properties on the episodically active Loreto faultshow moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Estelle Mortimer, Sanjeev Gupta, Patience Cowie
ISSN:0950-091X
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2005
Year of Completion:2005
Release Date:2017/03/24
Source:Basin Research. - ISSN 0950-091X. - 17 (2005), 3, S. 337 - 359
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Geowissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert