Facies patterns and depositional processes in two Frasnian mixed siliciclastic-carbonate systems in the Cantabrian Mountains, northwest Spain

Gerard B.S. van Loevezijn 1  and J.G.M. Raven 2
  • 1 Netherlands
  • 2 Leiden, Netherlands


Relative sea level fluctuations during the Frasnian generated two shallow-marine, mixed siliciclastic-carbonate successions in the Devonian Asturo-Leonese Basin. Each system represents a third-order sequence-stratigraphical unit deposited in the same basin during comparable extreme greenhouse conditions without nearby fluvial entry points. Depositional control on the siliciclastic and carbonate distribution was driven by relative sea level fluctuations, basin geometry, availability of sand and the way sediment was distributed by shelf currents. Early Variscan flexural bending of the continental crust changed the basin shape from a shelf with a gradual profile and low dip (early Frasnian) towards a shelf with a steep depositional dip (late Frasnian). Shelf distribution changed from along-shelf transport (early Frasnian) towards offshore-directed gravity flows (late Frasnian). As a consequence, siliciclastic-carbonate distribution changed from a predominance of skeletal carbonate in the proximal shoreface – foreshore area and siliciclastic predominance distally (early Frasnian), to a distribution pattern with proximal shoreface skeletal carbonates, offshore muddy carbonates and a siliciclastic zone in between where gravity flows distributed the siliciclastic sediment down dip (late Frasnian).

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