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Gyula Konrád, Krisztina Sebe, Amadé Halász and Edit Babinszki

Sedimentology of a Permian playa lake: the Boda Claystone Formation, Hungary

The Upper Permian Boda Claystone Formation (BCF) in SW Hungary has been previously been identified as a saline lake deposit. A country-wide screening found this 800-1000 m thick succession the most suitable for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in Hungary, and research into this formation has consequently been intensified since. The investigations included a detailed study of the sedimentological characteristics. Data obtained by mapping of the 25 km2 outcrop area of the formation and from more than 40 boreholes were processed. The sedimentary structures were investigated on outcrop to microscopic scales, and cycles in the succession were interpreted.

The main lithofacies, sedimentary structures and ichnofossils are presented. They indicate that the major part of the succession was deposited in a playa mudflat and is not of lacustrine origin in a strict sense. The lake sediments are represented by laminated and ripple-marked/flaser-type cross-laminated claystones and siltstones and by massive dolomites; trace fossils include crawling traces and burrows. Partial or complete drying out of the lake commonly occurred after the formation of carbonate mud by evaporation. Periodic fluvial influx is recorded by cross-bedded sandstones and unsorted gravelly sandstones of up to pebble-sized angular grains. Fenestral and stromatolitic structures reflect the repeated appearance of playa mudflat conditions. The silty claystones, which compose the major part of the succession, lost their primary structures due to pedogenic processes and indicate prolonged subaerial intervals with soil formation and only ephemeral inundations. The presence of pedogenic carbonate concretions supports the interpretation of an arid climate and a relatively shallow groundwater table. Drying-out events shown by desiccation cracks and authigenic breccias can be traced all over the succession.

The various facies form small-scale sedimentary cycles showing a shallowing-upward trend and the growing influence of aridity and subaerial exposure.

Open access

Orsolya Sztanó, Krisztina Sebe, Gábor Csillag and Imre Magyar


The floor of Lake Pannon covering the Pannonian Basin in the Late Miocene had considerable relief, including both deep sub-basins, like the Drava Basin, and basement highs, like the Mecsek Mts, in close proximity. The several km thick lacustrine succession in the Drava Basin includes profundal marls, basin-center turbidites, overlain by shales of basin-margin slopes, coarsening-upward deltaic successions and alluvial deposits. Along the margin of the Mecsek Mts locally derived shoreface sands and deltaic deposits from further away have been mapped so far on the surface. Recent field studies at the transition between the two areas revealed a succession that does not fit into either of these environments. A series of sandstone a few meters thick occurs above laminated to bioturbated clayey siltstone. The sandstone show normal grading, plane lamination, flat erosional surfaces, soft-sediment deformations (load and water-escape structures) and sharp-based beds with small reverse faults and folds. These indicate rapid deposition from turbidity currents and their deformation as slumps on an inclined surface. These beds are far too thick and may reveal much larger volumes of mass wasting than is expected on the 20–30 m high delta slopes; however, regional seismic lines also exclude outcropping of deep-basin turbidites. We suggest that slopes with transitional size (less than 100 m high) may have developed on the flank of the Mecsek as a consequence of lake-level rise. Although these slopes were smaller than the usually several hundred meter high clinoforms in the deep basins, they could still provide large enough inertia for gravity flows. This interpretation is supported by the occurrence of sublittoral mollusc assemblages in the vicinity, indicating several tens of meters of water depth. Fossils suggest that sedimentation in this area started about 8 Ma ago.