Sedimentology, cyclicity and floodplain architecture in the Lower Old Red Sandstone of SW Wales
Susan E. Love, Brian P. J. Williams, 2000. "Sedimentology, cyclicity and floodplain architecture in the Lower Old Red Sandstone of SW Wales", New Perspectives on the Old Red Sandstone, P. F. Friend, B. P. J. Williams
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The high-quality, laterally continuous coastal exposures of the Moor Cliffs Formation have allowed a highly detailed 2D reconstruction of the floodplain sediments and their contained pedogenic horizons to be made. The thick siltstone packages were actively deposited as finely laminated and rippled sheets, or as intraformational clasts forming larger bedforms. It is proposed that the unusual sediment geometries preserved are intimately related to the timing of land plant colonization of the Old Red Sandstone continent. Channels were extremely broad with low relief and flow over interfluvial areas was common. Evidence for ephemerality and regular desiccation is also closely related to the lack of rooted vegetation and not to palaeoclimate, which is postulated to be warm and seasonally wet. The low net sandstone (< 10%) fluvial sediments are the product of deposition by shallow, high width to depth fluvial ‘channels’ flanked by broad, low-relief silty plains on which Vertisols formed. The reconstructions of this fluvial system reveal distinctive and systematic vertical and lateral variations in floodplain architecture and palaeosol development. Pedogenic maturity consistently increases with distance both vertically and laterally from channels. The vertical patterns of palaeosol development and maturity suggest that autocyclic processes of aggradation and avulsion predominated.
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New Perspectives on the Old Red Sandstone
From the 1960s onwards, the Old Red Sandstone of both borders of the Atlantic Ocean has acted as a test-bed for the development of new ideas on the interpretation of fluvial, lacustrine and aeolian sedimentary rocks, and the investigation of tectonically-active basins. Much of the earlier reconnaissance work is now being reviewed in the light of further detailed field study, along with new developments in the understanding of the biostratigraphy, palaeobiology, geochronology, pedogenesis and tectonics.
Three general papers review recent work on the stratigraphical and chronological analysis of the Late Silurian, Devonian and Early Carboniferous strata, and summarize present understanding of the tectonics of the basins. These are then followed by twenty-seven contributions covering new work in Eastern USA, Canada, Ireland, Britain, Norway, Greenland and Spitsbergen.