Upper Cretaceous bottom current deposits, north-east Greenland

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Reported ancient bottom current deposits in deep marine settings are scarce and most of them remain contentious. This study describes sedimentological, ichnological and petrographical characteristics of a drill core that covers ca 10 Myr of Upper Cretaceous stratigraphy at Hold with Hope, north-east Greenland. The core is divided into four facies associations, which are interpreted to reflect deposition from bottom currents, turbidity flows and hemipelagic settling in slope and/or near slope environments. The evidence for bottom current influence is three-fold. Firstly, pervasive indications of winnowing such as marine bioclast-rich lags and outsized clasts on ‘mud on mud’ contacts are suggestive of low-sediment concentration flows capable of transporting up to pebble-sized clasts. Common Mn–Fe–Mg rich carbonate matrix cements and various types of hiatal chemogenic lag deposits showing glauconite, apatite and carbonate clasts also point to condensation, prolonged exposure at the sediment–water interface and recurrent phases of sea-floor erosion. Secondly, such deposits can show indicators for tidal processes such as double mud-drapes, tangential bottom sets in dune-scale cross-bedding and cyclic rhythmites. Thirdly, inverse to normal grading at various scales is common in fully marine, commonly seafloor-derived sediments. Ichnological data indicate considerable taxonomic variability in the bottom current deposits, but recurrent fabrics are characteristically dominated by morphologically simple burrows such as Thalassinoides and Planolites, with secondary Phycosiphon, Nereites, Zoophycos and/or Chondrites. In general, opportunistic taxa are common whereas mature composite ichnofabrics are rare. The omission surfaces are locally burrowed with stiffground to firmground trace fossil suites. The results contribute to establishing sedimentological, ichnological and mineralogical criteria for recognition of bottom current deposits as well as to the understanding of the Late Cretaceous palaeoenvironmental evolution of the Arctic region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3619-3654
Number of pages36
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Bottom currents
  • contourite
  • Cretaceous
  • ichnology
  • north-east Greenland
  • tidal bottom currents
  • turbidite

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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