Seismogenic rotational slumps and translational glides in pelagic deep-water carbonates. Upper Tithonian-Berriasian of Southern Tethyan margin (W Sicily, Italy)

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Abstract

Soft-sediment deformation structures (SSDSs), which reflect sediment mobilization processes, are helpful to identify punctual events of paleoenvironmental stresses. In the upper Tithonian-Berriasian calpionellid pelagic limestone of the Lattimusa Fm. outcropping in the Barracù section (W Sicily), paleoenvironmental restoration reveals the occurrence of a deep-water flat basin, characterised by undeformed planar bedding, laterally passing to a gentle slope where the deformed horizons alternate with undeformed beds. Here, two types of gravity slides have been differentiated on the basis of different kinds of SSDSs, brittle deformation, involved lithofacies, geometry and morphology. Type 1 slump sheets, involving marl-limestone couplets, are characterised by chaotic stratification, truncated beds, recumbent folds, tension gashes, clastic dikes and small-scale listric normal faults and thrusts. They moved downslope as a rotational slump, displaying the typical wedge-shaped morphology, becoming thicker toe-wards. Type 2 slump sheets, involving bed packages of lime mudstone, are characterised by arcuate slump scars developing downwards as listric normal faults, associated with rotational beds and bulging. Displaying tabular geometries, they moved coherently along an overall bedding parallel detachment surface as a translational glide characterised by sediment creep. Regional geology indicates that the basin (Sicanian), bordered by a stepped carbonate platform, was affected by synsedimentary tectonics throughout the Mesozoic. The synsedimentary extensional tectonics that affect the Upper Triassic-Jurassic deposits with steeped normal faults, causing tilt-block and instability of the seafloor through fluidization processes, triggered the rotational slumps of the lower portion of the section. Seismic shocks, induced by outside sector tectonics, like those recorded in the adjacent Busambra stepped carbonate platform margin, triggered the rotational slumps that are not related to local-scale faults. To explain the translational glides of the upper portion of the section, the aforementioned outside sector earthquakes produced instability of the sea-floor through thixotropy of marls. In this case, the driving forces (i.e., gravitational) were favoured by the uplifting trend that is well recorded in the Southern Tethyan continental margin. We suggest that the various early deformations represent rotational slump and sediment creep that may be characteristic for slump structures in pelagic carbonates, depending on the involved lithologies (i.e., paleoenvironmental setting) and the intensity/distance of the trigger mechanism (i.e., earthquake epicentre).
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-14
Numero di pagine14
RivistaSedimentary Geology
Volume356
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy

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