Evaluation of controlling factors on facies distribution and evolution in an arid continental environment: an example from the Rotliegend of the NE German Basin
H. Rieke, T. McCann, C. M. Krawczyk, J. F. W. Negendank, 2003. "Evaluation of controlling factors on facies distribution and evolution in an arid continental environment: an example from the Rotliegend of the NE German Basin", Tracing Tectonic Deformation Using the Sedimentary Record, T. McCann, A. Saintot
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About 3 km of core material from 14 wells together with additional data from several hundred wells across the NE German Basin (NEGB), have been investigated in order to reconstruct the facies architecture and the evolution of the Upper Rotliegend II. Special attention has also been given to the verification of various controlling factors and their influence on sedimentation in an arid continental environment. The facies architecture within the logged profiles comprises five main environments, namely braided plain, ephemeral stream floodplain, sand flat, mudflat and playa lake. The evolution can be subdivided into four distinct basin-wide correlatable periods — Parchim, Mirow, Dethlingen and Hannover formations — with each of them being characterized by a specific basin geometry and interplay of controlling factors. The deposition of the basal Parchim Formation largely took place within a tectonically created basin, whereas the facies evolution displayed an initial less-arid climatic period and later shift to an arid climate. The succeeding Mirow Formation marks the beginning of thermally induced basin subsidence. However, sedimentation itself clearly reflects a period in which the climate was relatively less arid. The overlying Dethlingen Formation was largely controlled by the increasing thermal subsidence of the basin, leading to broad extension towards the south and east. Internally, the strata can show the effects of climatic variability, depending on their position within the basin. The uppermost Hannover Formation was the product of ongoing basin subsidence, a reduction in sediment supply and an increasingly peneplaned topography. In summary, evolution of the Upper Rotliegend II within the NEGB reveals a variety of factors which have a significant influence on sedimentation, such as climate variations, the creation rate and amount of accommodation space, wind direction, sediment budget and source area lithology. An understanding of how these various factors interlink in controlling basin infill is of great significance in understanding the complex depositional history of arid continental successions.
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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.