Soft-sediment deformation structures in cores from lacustrine slurry deposits of the Late Triassic Yanchang Fm. (central China)

Renchao Yang 1 , A.J. (Tom) van Loon 2 , Wei Yin 3 , Aiping Fan 4 , and Zuozhen Han 1
  • 1 Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Depositional Mineralization & Sedimentary Minerals, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266590, China
  • 2 Geocom Consultants, Valle del Portet 17, 03726 Benitachell, Spain
  • 3 Sinopec Petroleum Exploration & Production Research Institute, Beijing 100083, China
  • 4 Provincial Key Laboratory of Depositional Mineralization & Sedimentary Minerals, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266590, China


The fine-grained autochthonous sedimentation in the deep part of a Late Triassic lake was frequently interrupted by gravity-induced mass flows. Some of these mass flows were so rich in water that they must have represented slurries. This can be deduced from the soft-sediment deformation structures that abound in cores from these lacustrine deposits which constitute the Yanchang Fm., which is present in the Ordos Basin (central China).

The flows and the resulting SSDS were probably triggered by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, shear stress of gravity flows, and/or the sudden release of overburden-induced excess pore-fluid pressure. The tectonically active setting, the depositional slope and the high sedimentation rate facilitated the development of soft-sediment deformations, which consist mainly of load casts and associated structures such as pseudonodules and flame structures. Sediments with such deformations were occasionally eroded by slurries and became embedded in their deposits.

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