Abstract

Research literature abounds on the depositional processes and products associated with macro-tidal regimes, whereas there is little available literature on sediments deposited in micro-tidal regimes. This paper presents new field-based sedimentological interpretations of the Marsdenian (Namurian, Carboniferous) interval of the Pennine Basin, a basin-fill that is classically regarded as the archetypal fluvial-dominated delta system. This paper reinterprets discrete lithostratigraphic units, and suggests they were deposited under the influence of weak tidal currents. We highlight three lithofacies that contain tidally influenced deposits within the Marsdenian interval of the Pennine Basin; a cross-bedded sandstone with mud drapes and reactivation surfaces, a heterolithic ripple-laminated sandstone with muddy drapes and silty mudstone interlaminations, and a rhythmic–parallel-bedded sandstone with mudstone–siltstone interlaminations. Evidence for cryptic tidal signatures in tractionally transported and reworked sediments is qualitative, and largely dependent on the sedimentologist's view of what constitutes a diagnostic number of tidal indicators (i.e. mud-drape couplets, reactivation surfaces). In areas away from either tractional deposition or reworking, sediments deposited from suspension are more likely to preserve indicators of tidal processes. This paper focuses on a lithofacies interpreted as a tidally influenced sand-rich delta-front mouthbar deposited from a buoyant effluent plume. Time-series analysis of laminae thickness variations in this facies implies that these variations are rhythmic. We review how the interaction of tidal currents and buoyant plume processes modifies depositional products. This model implies that the rhythmic variation observed in the Marsdenian interval is attributed to the modulation of plume deposition by tidal currents with a semi-diurnal and diurnal tidal periodicity.

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