Sedimentary response to tectonics in extensional basins: the Pechelbronn Beds (Late Eocene to early Oligocene) in the northern Upper Rhine Graben, Germany
C. Derer, M. Kosinowski, H. P. Luterbacher, A. Schäfer, M. P. Süß, 2003. "Sedimentary response to tectonics in extensional basins: the Pechelbronn Beds (Late Eocene to early Oligocene) in the northern Upper Rhine Graben, Germany", Tracing Tectonic Deformation Using the Sedimentary Record, T. McCann, A. Saintot
Download citation file:
The deposition of the late Eocene to early Oligocene Pechelbronn Beds in the northern Upper Rhine Graben was controlled by changes in accommodation space, sediment supply and basin physiography, imposed by the syn-rift tectonic framework. Base-level cycles, defined by variations of the ratio of accommodation space to sediment supply (A/S ratio), allow untangling of the depositional history in this complex structural setting. A transfer zone divided the northern part of the Upper Rhine Graben into a southern and a northern sub-basin and created major depositional gradients. The low A/S ratio in the transfer zone led to sediment bypassing and cannibalisation. Only asymmetric cycles of fluvial and alluvial fan deposits developed, as the sediment was transported to the sub-basins. The higher A/S ratio on the major gradient of the southern sub-basin, which increased from the transfer zone to the south, allowed the formation of symmetric delta/shoreface and lacustrine cycles. At times starvation occurred in the transfer-zone-distal parts of the sub-basin. On subordinate scale, within the southern sub-basin, tilt-blocks bounded by growth faults created halfgrabens with inferior depositional gradients. On the footwall crest, due to low A/S ratio, bypassing and erosion occurred. Here asymmetric cycles of coarse-grained channel fill deposits were preserved. On the hangingwall, close to the normal fault, high A/S conditions were present and symmetric cycles developed. The creation of accommodation space kept pace and even outpaced the footwall-derived sediment supply, which created thick shallow water deposits.
Figures & Tables
The study of sediments and sedimentary basins in terms of their tectonic environment requires a multidisciplinary approach and has increasingly drawn both techniques and objectives from fields outside sedimentology. The application of different theoretical, experimental and empirical resources provided by structural geology, geochemistry, geophysics, scale modelling, and field geology, complement sedimentological methods, with the combined aim of achieving a deeper understanding of the origins, evolution and significance of sedimentary sequences in terms of their tectonic history.
Studies presented in this volume range across a wide spectrum from the analysis of sedimentary sequence architecture at basin scale down to the chemical properties of individual grains, and include studies from a range of tectonic settings.
The volume will be of interest to those involved with, or contemplating, studies involving the linkages between tectonics and sedimentation, as well as a wider audience to whom the results of such studies may provide fresh insight.