Impact of growth faults on mixed siliciclastic-carbonate-evaporite deposits during rift climax and reorganisation—Billefjorden Trough, Svalbard, Norway

Aleksandra Smyrak-Sikora, Jakob B. Nicolaisen, Alvar Braathen, Erik P. Johannessen, Snorre Olaussen, Lars Stemmerik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fault-controlled mixed siliciclastic-carbonate-evaporite depositional systems exhibit distinct sensitivity to tectonic and eustatic controls that are expressed in the sedimentary architecture. In the Upper Carboniferous Billefjorden Trough (Svalbard, Norway), up to 2,000 m of a warm and arid climate syn-rift basin fill comprises such depositional systems, documented in this study with traditional field techniques supported by helicopter- and ground-based LIDAR models. The basin evolved from siliciclastics-dominated red beds and paralic units that filled a symmetrical basin, to a rift climax half-graben with alluvial fans entering the basin along relay ramps of the master fault zone (Billefjorden fault zone). Faults located in the hanging wall dip-slope prevented the progradation of coarser material to the eastern part of the basin. Later, structural reorganisation in the dipslope led to the cessation of easternmost faults with deformation focusing along one major lineament (Løvehovden fault zone) antithetic to the master fault zone. The basin subsidence became more symmetrical, with main central depocentre and shallower platforms near the basin flanks. Footwall anticlines from faults displacement gradients were sensitive to periodical exposure and recorded dissolution breccias and footwall synclines preserved evaporites coupled with shallow marine siliciclastic deposits. Concurrently, thick gypsum/anhydrite deposits in the basin centre reflect glacio-eustatic lowstands, whereas evenly thick carbonate deposition characterises highstands. While most analysis of syn-rift basin fill is based on siliciclastics deposits, we here demonstrate the complexity of tectonism versus eustatic sea level changes in a mixed carbonate-evaporite syn-rift deposits. Tectonic influence is ascribed to the deposition of alluvial fans that prograded from the master fault towards the basin centre. On the dipslope glacio-eustatic signals outperformed tectonic influence on deposition. Sea level lowstands promoted deposition of red sabkha mudstones and gypsum/anhydrite, salinas evaporites or dissolution breccias, interbedded with highstand carbonate beds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2643-2674
Number of pages32
JournalBasin Research
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • basin evolution
  • dissolution breccias
  • evaporite deposition
  • footwall rebound
  • rift basin

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources

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