Architecture of a Coarse-Grained Upper Middle Cambrian Alluvial Delta Dominated by Braidplain and Gilbert-Style Delta Components
Friday, 19 December 2014
The ~500-m thick upper Middle Cambrian Lockett Conglomerate was deposited as part of an alluvial delta that includes Gilbert-type mega-crossbeds as well as braidplain conglomerates, and was constructed across an accretionary prism. Internal Lockett Conglomerate architecture indicates at least three phases of progradation are recorded by Gilbert-type, delta-front deposits that are separated by delta-top distributaries and/or braidplain deposits, all of which form discontinuous sheets and lenses, and record aggradation. Evaluation of sedimentary features (particle size and organization, bedding features) allows identification of eight facies within the Lockett Conglomerate; sedimentary features were used to infer transportational and depositional mechanisms. Conglomerate facies HL-1 – HL-8 were assigned to one or more of the following depositional associations: Beachface/shoreface, Deltafront, Alluvial fan, Braidplain (fluvial, unchannelized), Delta-top distributaries, and Mouth-bars. A series of Depositional Packages was identified, and mapped; integration with measured sections allowed development of a facies model for an alluvial delta in which the subaerial component is dominated by the braidplain association, and the subaqueous component by the (Gilbert-type) deltafront association as well as the delta-top distributary and mouthbar associations. Locally, the beachface association marks the transition between the subaqueous and subaerial components of the alluvial delta. Alluvial fan deposits are absent, but the rounded pebbles, cobbles and boulders with a new and distinctive provenance signature indicate derivation from a newly exposed igneous and metamorphic basement, and abrasion during transport through the fluvial (braidplain) system prior to deposition as part of the alluvial delta.