Abstract

Sediment-laden gravity-driven-flow deposits on the basin floor are typically considered to form either discrete lobes that stack compensationally, or packages of laterally extensive beds, commonly termed “sheets.” These end-member stacking patterns are documented in several basinfills. However, whether they can coexist in a single basin, or there are intermediate or transitional stacking patterns, is poorly understood. An analysis of depositional architecture and stacking patterns along a 70 km dip-oriented transect in the Upper Broto Turbidite System (Jaca Basin, south-central Pyrenees, Spain), which displays disparate stacking patterns in contemporaneous strata, is presented. Proximal and medial deposits are characterized by discrete packages of clean sandstones with sharp bed tops which exhibit predictable lateral and longitudinal facies changes, and are interpreted as lobes. Distal deposits comprise both relatively clean sandstones and hybrid beds that do not stack to form lobes. Instead, localized relatively thick hybrid beds are inferred to have inhibited the development of lobes. Hybrid beds developed under flows which were deflected and entrained carbonate mud substrate off a carbonate slope that bounded the basin to the south; evidence for this interpretation includes: 1) divergent paleoflow indicators and hummock-like features in individual beds; 2) a decrease in hybrid-bed thickness and abundance away from the lateral confining slope; 3) a carbonate-rich upper division, not seen in more proximal turbidites. The study demonstrates the co-occurrence of different styles of basin-floor stacking patterns in the same stratigraphic interval, and suggests that characterization of deep-water systems as either lobes or sheets is a false dichotomy.

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