The Ordovician Suri Formation is part of the infill of the Famatina Basin of northwest Argentina, which formed in an active setting along the western margin of early Paleozoic Gondwana. The lower part of this formation, the Vuelta de Las Tolas Member, records sedimentation on a slope apron formed in an intra-arc basin situated on a flooded continental arc platform. The coincidence of a thick Arenig-Llanvirn sedimentary succession and volcanic-plutonic arc rocks suggests an extensional or transtensional arc setting, and is consistent with evidence of an extensional regime within the volcanic arc in the northern Puna region. The studied stratigraphic sections consist of volcanic rocks and six sedimentary facies. The facies can be clustered into four facies associations. Association 1, composed of facies A (laminated siltstones and mudstones) and B (massive mudstones and siltstones), is interpreted to have accumulated from silty-muddy high-and low-density turbidity currents and highly fluid, silty debris flows, with subsequent reworking by bottom currents, and to a lesser extent, hemipelagic suspension in an open-slope setting. Facies association 2 is dominated by facies C (current-rippled siltstones) strata. These deposits are interpreted to record overbank sedimentation from fine-grained turbidity currents. Facies E (matrix-supported volcanic breccias) interbedded with andesitic lava units comprises facies association 3. Deposition was contemporaneous with subaqueous volcanic activity, and accumulated from cohesive debris flows in a coarse-grained wedge at the base of slope. Facies association 4 is typified by facies D (vitric fine-grained sandstones and siltstones) and F (channelized and graded volcanic conglomerates and breccias) deposits. These strata commonly display thinning-and fining-upward trends, indicating sedimentation from highly-concentrated volcaniclastic turbidity currents in a channelized system. The general characteristics of these deposits of fresh pyroclastic detritus suggest that their accumulation was contemporaneous with, or post-dated shallow-water or subaereal explosive volcanism. The Vuelta de Las Tolas Member tends to show an overall random facies patterns reflecting the strong influence of non-cyclical episodic processes related to arc volcanism and slope sedimentation. The scarcity of resident ichnofaunas and the presence of thick packages of uniform mudstones suggest deposition under oxygen-depleted conditions in a topographically confined, ponded sub-basin. Interbasinal correlations favor comparison with Middle Arenig slope-apron successions formed in the northern Puna Basin and suggest a southward prolongation of the Arenig volcanic arc.
Additional publication details
Slope-apron deposition in an ordovician arc-related setting: The Vuelta de Las Tolas Member (Suri Formation), Famatina Basin, northwest Argentina