Abstract

The redbeds of the 220 m Blomidon Formation comprise more than 100 pairs of (i) sand-flat sandstone (distal alluvial fan) and (ii) playa sandy mudstone and (or) lacustrine claystone. These pairs are tectonic autocycles generated by rift-basin subsidence and sagging along the Glooscap fault zone that shifted loci of active fan sedimentation toward and away from the playa surface as fan lobes migrated into topographically low areas.Intervals of intense and prolonged aridity are recorded in many of the sand-flat sandstones and playa sandy mudstones by evaporite minerals, principally gypsum, precipitated by subsurface evolution of a CaSO4–NaCl brine. Aridity is further demonstrated by intense disruption of sediment fabrics beneath evaporite crusts, deep mudcracks, eolian-sandstone layers and patches, and the presence of authigenic Ca–Mg-rich illite–smectite and analcime. During relatively wetter intervals, claystone beds accumulated in shallow lakes that filled the playa depression, lapping onto the sand flats. The claystones lack evaporite minerals and textures, and many are partially bioturbated.The long-term climate became progressively wetter from latest Triassic to earliest Jurassic time, as evidenced by an increase upsection in the ratio of lacustrine claystone to playa sandy mudstone and by less evaporite mineralization in the sand-flat sandstones.

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