The Sardinian Graben System was a part of a NE-SW-oriented extensional basin, rotated counter-clockwise into a N-S-elongate basin, as consequence of the eastward migration of the Apennine orogenic front, in the western Mediterranean during the Neogene. Starting from the early Miocene, the Sardinian Graben was inundated by marine waters, turning progressively into a seaway, characterized by a tidal circulation as consequence of the connection between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Paratethys Ocean to the east. In this work, we investigate an area located marginally to the mid-seaway, whose well-exposed volcaniclastic deposits record the local expression of a tidal amplification occurring in a coastal peripheral embayment of the wider Sardinian Seaway. The studied succession is ca. 140 m thick and includes three main units: (i) the 20-m-thick lowermost unit consists of fluvio-lacustrine sandstones and conglomerates belonging to lower delta-plain and delta-platform environments; (ii) the second unit is 60–70 m thick and includes heterolithic sandstones and mudstones, exhibiting a variety of tidal sedimentary structures, and lies on the previous deposits through a tidal ravinement surface; these two units are mostly volcaniclastic in composition, reflecting the dominance of a magmatic source over other extrabasinal components; (iii) the uppermost unit is ca. 50 m thick, erosionally overlies the previous deposits and is made up of shoreface sandstones and open-shelf mudstones, whose composition indicates even less volcaniclastic elements and the prevalence of other clastic alongshore-derived components. Based on the results of the facies analysis, the study succession is interpreted as the infill of an incised valley along the southern flank of a structural high. The valley was excavated during a phase of relative sea-level lowstand (Aquitanian?) preceding a subsequent stage of major transgression (Burdigalian). Initially, a fluvial system impinged the valley from the west favoring the progradation of a deltaic system in a shallow-marine embayment. During an early stage of transgression, the isolation of a part of this coastal area generated by the building of a barrier island, produced the onset of a tidal-flat sedimentation over the previous deposits. A late transgression occurred through the inundation of this coastal area by marine waters and the consequent back-stepping of beach-barrier and open-shelf strata. The sedimentological features of this stratigraphic succession indicate as this valley was filled in a tectonic setting with a high rate of accommodation, where the tidal influence progressively increased during sediment accumulation, possibly due to the marginal position respect to a wider tide-dominated marine conduit. The present paper thus: (i) documents for the first time a tidal signature in the lower Miocene strata of Sardinia; (ii) indicates new possible relationships with other, coeval seaway successions of the western and northern Mediterranean area; (iii) suggests constrains for palaeogeographic reconstructions; (iv) and throws the basis for future researches on the Sardinian Seaway.

Tidal sedimentation preserved in volcaniclastic deposits filling a peripheral seaway embayment (early Miocene, Sardinian Graben)

Longhitano S. G.
;
Pistis M.
2017

Abstract

The Sardinian Graben System was a part of a NE-SW-oriented extensional basin, rotated counter-clockwise into a N-S-elongate basin, as consequence of the eastward migration of the Apennine orogenic front, in the western Mediterranean during the Neogene. Starting from the early Miocene, the Sardinian Graben was inundated by marine waters, turning progressively into a seaway, characterized by a tidal circulation as consequence of the connection between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Paratethys Ocean to the east. In this work, we investigate an area located marginally to the mid-seaway, whose well-exposed volcaniclastic deposits record the local expression of a tidal amplification occurring in a coastal peripheral embayment of the wider Sardinian Seaway. The studied succession is ca. 140 m thick and includes three main units: (i) the 20-m-thick lowermost unit consists of fluvio-lacustrine sandstones and conglomerates belonging to lower delta-plain and delta-platform environments; (ii) the second unit is 60–70 m thick and includes heterolithic sandstones and mudstones, exhibiting a variety of tidal sedimentary structures, and lies on the previous deposits through a tidal ravinement surface; these two units are mostly volcaniclastic in composition, reflecting the dominance of a magmatic source over other extrabasinal components; (iii) the uppermost unit is ca. 50 m thick, erosionally overlies the previous deposits and is made up of shoreface sandstones and open-shelf mudstones, whose composition indicates even less volcaniclastic elements and the prevalence of other clastic alongshore-derived components. Based on the results of the facies analysis, the study succession is interpreted as the infill of an incised valley along the southern flank of a structural high. The valley was excavated during a phase of relative sea-level lowstand (Aquitanian?) preceding a subsequent stage of major transgression (Burdigalian). Initially, a fluvial system impinged the valley from the west favoring the progradation of a deltaic system in a shallow-marine embayment. During an early stage of transgression, the isolation of a part of this coastal area generated by the building of a barrier island, produced the onset of a tidal-flat sedimentation over the previous deposits. A late transgression occurred through the inundation of this coastal area by marine waters and the consequent back-stepping of beach-barrier and open-shelf strata. The sedimentological features of this stratigraphic succession indicate as this valley was filled in a tectonic setting with a high rate of accommodation, where the tidal influence progressively increased during sediment accumulation, possibly due to the marginal position respect to a wider tide-dominated marine conduit. The present paper thus: (i) documents for the first time a tidal signature in the lower Miocene strata of Sardinia; (ii) indicates new possible relationships with other, coeval seaway successions of the western and northern Mediterranean area; (iii) suggests constrains for palaeogeographic reconstructions; (iv) and throws the basis for future researches on the Sardinian Seaway.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11563/149526
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