Abstract

The Cow Head Group, interpreted as a southeast-dipping base-of-slope carbonate apron, contains intraformational truncation surfaces and slide masses. Synsedimentary shear zones are formed (1) below intraformational truncation surfaces; (2) in the basal parts of slide masses; and (3) in the shallow subsurface because of downslope creep. Shear zones are characterized by a variety of synsedimentary deformation structures. Limestones are subject to folding, brecciation, rotation of fragmented beds, and the development of fitted-lenticular bedding. In the interbedded shales, there is both disruption of fine laminations and small-scale isoclinal folding and faulting. Outcrops characterized by these features and the lack of truncation surfaces or slide masses may reflect minor downslope creep. The presence of truncation surfaces, slide masses, and shear zones indicates deposition on an unstable sloping surface.The recognition of intraformational truncation surfaces and slide masses usually requires extensive strike exposure, which when lacking, (e.g., drill cores), limits the potential of these large-scale features as useful indicators of slope deposition. In the Cow Head Group, the recognition and proper interpretation of the common, small-scale deformation structures of synsedimentary shear zones provides evidence for slope deposition that is independent of other sedimentologic, stratigraphic, and regional data.In some parts of the Cow Head Group, "wrinkled" limestones characterized by a prominent dome-and-basin morphology reflect layer-parallel shortening related to tectonic deformation. The deformation of these limestones was previously considered to be synsedimentary, but their association with late-diagenetic precipitates and tectonic stylolites, in conjunction with their continuity and regularity, distinguishes these folds from those produced during synsedimentary deformation.

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