The Loma del Kilome??tro Member of the Lower Ordovician Suri Formation records arc-related shelf sedimentation in the Famatina Basin of northwest Argentina. Nine facies, grouped into three facies assemblages, are recognized. Facies assemblage 1 [massive and parallel-laminated mudstones (facies A) locally punctuated by normally graded or parallel-laminated silty sandstones (facies B] records deposition from suspension fall-out and episodic storm-induced turbidity currents in an outer shelf setting. Facies assemblage 2 [massive and parallel-laminated mudstones (facies A) interbedded with rippled-top very fine-grained sandstones (facies D)] is interpreted as the product of background sedimentation alternating with distal storm events in a middle shelf environment. Facies assemblage 3 [normally graded coarse to fine-grained sandstones (facies C); parallel-laminated to low angle cross-stratified sandstones (facies E); hummocky cross-stratified sandstones and siltstones (facies F); interstratified fine-grained sandstones and mudstones (facies G); massive muddy siltstones and sandstones (facies H); tuffaceous sandstones (facies I); and interbedded thin units of massive and parallel-laminated mudstones (facies A)] is thought to represent volcaniclastic mass flow and storm deposition coupled with subordinated suspension fall-out in an inner-shelf to lower-shoreface setting. The Loma del Kilo??metro Member records regressive-transgressive sedimentation in a storm- and mass flow-dominated high-gradient shelf. Volcano-tectonic activity was the important control on shelf morphology, while relative sea-level change influenced sedimentation. The lower part of the succession is attributed to mud blanketing during high stand and volcanic quiescence. Progradation of the inner shelf to lower shoreface facies assemblage in the middle part represents an abrupt basinward shoreline migration. An erosive-based, non-volcaniclastic, turbidite unit at the base of this package suggests a sea level fall. Pyroclastic detritus, andesites, and a non-volcanic terrain were eroded and their detritus was transported basinward and redeposited by sediment gravity flows during the low stand. The local coexistence of juvenile pyroclastic detritus and fossils suggests reworking of rare ash-falls. The upper part of the Loma del Kilo??metre Member records a transgression with no evidence of contemporaneous volcanism. Biostratinomic, paleoecologic, and ichnologic analyses support this paleoenvironmental interpretations and provide independent evidence for the dominance of episodic sedimentation in an arc-related shallow marine setting. Fossil concentrations were mainly formed by event processes, such as storms and volcaniclastic mass flows. High depositional rates inhibited formation of sediment-starved biogenic concentrations. Collectively, trace fossils belong to the Cruziana ichnofacies. Low diversity, scarcity, and presence of relatively simple forms indicate benthic activity under stressful conditions, most probably linked to high sedimentation rates. Contrasting sedimentary dynamics between 'normal shelves' and their volcaniclastic counterparts produce distinct and particular signatures in the stratigraphic record. Arc-related shelves are typified by event deposition with significant participation of sediment gravity flows, relatively high sedimentation rates, textural and mineralogical immaturity of sediments, scarcity and low diversity of trace fossils, and dominance of transported and reworked faunal assemblages genetically related to episodic processes.
Additional publication details
Shallow marine event sedimentation in a volcanic arc-related setting: The Ordovician Suri Formation, Famatina range, northwest Argentina