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Depositional Environments and Sedimentary Facies

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Depositional Environments
Areas of the Earths surface where distinct processes generate specific geological (sedimentary) products -Physical -Biological -Chemical

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Sedimentary (litho) Facies and (litho) Facies Analysis


Sedimentary (litho) facies
Lithostratigraphic Units (time independent) Defined by sum total of (relevant) rock properties Reflects processes during genesis and may include
Lithology Sedimentary Structures Fossils Bedding style and geometry (on various scales) Paleo-sediment transport indicators

e.g.: hummocky cross stratified, Zoophycus burrowed, fine- to medium-grained, sandstone


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Facies Analysis, Facies Associations, Facies Sequences, and Facies Models


Otbo reoccurring associations of sedimentary facies
(hummocky cross stratified, Zoophycus burrowed, fine- to medium-grained, sandstone; Storm Shelf, Hummocky Sequence )
It is possible to more precisely determine the sum total of processes active at the site of deposition and interpret depositional environment Facies sequences are recurring (in the geological record) facies associations which occur in a particular order due to the inherent temporal changes in depositional conditions in particular depositional environments

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Common Siliciclastic Stratigraphic Successions


Vertical successions characterized by lithology, associations and vertical arrangement of sedimentary structures
Indicative of particular sedimentary depositional environments Expression of Walthers Law Reflects Autocyclicity:
stratigraphic variability inherent to a particular depositional environment

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Distinctive and Common Sedimentary Facies Associations


High gradient, low sinuosity, sand and gravel dominated BRAIDED RIVER SYSTEM

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Distinctive and Common Sedimentary Facies Associations


Low Gradient, high sinuosity, mud to sand dominated MEANDERING RIVER SYSTEM

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Distinctive and Common Sedimentary Facies Associations


Sediment gravity flow-dominated (turbidity currents), deep water sediment dispersal SUBMARINE FAN SYSTEM

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Facies Analysis, Facies Associations, Facies Sequences, and Facies Models


Otbo reoccurring associations of sedimentary facies
(hummocky cross stratified, Zoophycus burrowed, fine- to medium-grained, sandstone; Storm Shelf, Hummocky Sequence )
It is possible to more precisely determine the sum total of processes active at the site of deposition and interpret depositional environment Facies sequences are recurring (in the geological record) facies associations which occur in a particular order due to the inherent temporal changes in depositional conditions in particular depositional environments

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Common Sedimentary Facies Associations in


Carbonate Dominated Environments

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Common Sedimentary Facies Associations in


Carbonate Dominated Environments
Carbonate sediment dominated, rimmed shallow marine shelf RIMMED CARBONATE SHELF SYSTEM

Rimmed Carbonate Platform 11


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Facies Analysis, Facies Associations, Facies Sequences, and Facies Models


Facies Models are a general summary of a given depositional environment or depositional system
Lithostratigraphic unit representing depositional processes and geographic location

The apparent existence of order in Nature suggest that there are (and have been through geological time) a limited number of different and recognizable depositional systems These depositional systems are identified through the use of

Facies Models

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Facies Analysis and Walthers Law


It is a basic statement of far reaching significance that only those facies and facies areas can be super imposed primarily that

can be observed beside each other at the present time

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Facies Analysis and Walthers Law


Gradational (vertical) transitions from one facies to another indicate original adjacency and genetic relationship during formation. Sharp/erosional (vertical) contacts between facies provides NO evidence of contemporaneous genetic relationship of depositional environments

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Depositional Systems Analysis


Depositional Systems: (lithostratigraphic units)
Three dimensional assemblages of lithofacies, which are interpreted to be genetically linked by process and environment

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Actualism and "Genetic Stratigraphy"


Recognition of Uniformitarianism
the relationship between modern processes of sedimentation and the rock record

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Lithostratigraphy
Formations, Members, Groups, etc.
Material Units and "Classical Layer Cake Stratigraphy
catastrophism: continuous layering = time equivalence NO! Further organization and subdivision of the rock record otbo
Relative age
Superposition, unconformities, cross cutting relationships, included fragments

Original Horizontality Lateral Continuity


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Objective Subdivision of the Stratigraphic Record Into Distinct Lithostratigraphic Units


Formations
with a type section, geographic or lithologic name, and definition based on
limited and distinctive lithologic variability consistent stratigraphic context extensive map distribution in the surface or subsurface

Groups and Supergroups


Are formations lumped otbo stratigraphic association

Members and beds


Subdivisions of Formations lithostrat units with less areal extent defined as it is useful

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