Lower Badenian coarse-grained Gilbert deltas in the southern margin of the Western Carpathian Foredeep basin

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Abstract

Two coarse-grained Gilbert-type deltas in the Lower Badenian deposits along the southern margin of the Western Carpathian Foredeep (peripheral foreland basin) were newly interpreted. Facies characterizing a range of depositional processes are assigned to four facies associations — topset, foreset, bottomset and offshore marine pelagic deposits. The evidence of Gilbert deltas within open marine deposits reflects the formation of a basin with relatively steep margins connected with a relative sea level fall, erosion and incision. Formation, progradation and aggradation of the thick coarse-grained Gilbert delta piles generally indicate a dramatic increase of sediment supply from the hinterland, followed by both relatively continuous sediment delivery and an increase in accommodation space. Deltaic deposition is terminated by relatively rapid and extended drowning and is explained as a transgressive event. The lower Gilbert delta was significantly larger, more areally extended and reveals a more complicated stratigraphic architecture than the upper one. Its basal surface represents a sequence boundary and occurs around the Karpatian/Badenian stratigraphic limit. Two coeval deltaic branches were recognized in the lower delta with partly different stratigraphic arrangements. This different stratigraphic architecture is mostly explained by variations in the sediment delivery and /or predisposed paleotopography and paleobathymetry of the basin floor. The upper delta was recognized only in a restricted area. Its basal surface represents a sequence boundary probably reflecting a higher order cycle of a relative sea level rise and fall within the Lower Badenian. Evidence of two laterally and stratigraphically separated coarse-grained Gilbert deltas indicates two regional/basin wide transgressive/regressive cycles, but not necessarily of the same order. Provenance analysis reveals similar sources of both deltas. Several partial source areas were identified (Mesozoic carbonates of the Northern Calcareous Alps and the Western Carpathians, crystalline rocks of the eastern margin of the Bohemian Massif, older sedimentary infill of the Carpathian Foredeep and/or the North Alpine Foreland Basin, sedimentary rocks of the Western Carpathian/Alpine Flysch Zone).

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