Stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology and provenance of the Sobral and Cross Valley formations (Paleocene), Marambio (Seymour) Island, Antarctica.

Sergio Marenssi, Sergio Santillana, Mauro Bauer


The unconformity bounded Paleocene Sobral and Cross Valley formations represent part of the uppermost infill of the James Ross Basin of northeastern Antarctic Peninsula. Both units have been subdivided into allomembers since they also present internal unconformities. The Sobral Formation represents silicoclastic sedimentation on a marine shelf during at least two transgressive-regressive cycles. The Cross Valley Formation fills in a narrow valley with volcaniclastic deposits representing an incised valley system with estuarine and finally deltaic facies. Sandstones of the Sobral Formation are feldspathic litharenites and lithic arkoses while those of the Cross Valley Formation are feldspathic litharenites to litharenites (volcanic). The sandstone composition (petrofacies) of the Sobral and Cross Valley formation suggest provenance from a dissected volcanic arc that increased its activity during the Danian but decline again towards the late Thanetian. A detailed analysis of the sandstone compositional trends allowed to differentiate two petrofacies (S and CV) and two sub-petrofacies (S I, S II, CV I and CV II respectively). The sub-petrofacies suggest a control from the sedimentary environments upon the detrital modes and their interference with the true provenance signal. The increase in quartz and glaucony in some units may be related with the unconformities and reworking of the underlying sedimentary units as well as development of high energy environments. On the other hand, volcanic, plutonic and metamorphic rock fragments are related to the provenance area. The overlap of two main sources of sediments, one from the basin edge and other within the basin is then envisaged. The first one represents the unroofing of a volcanic arc located at the present day position of the Antarctic Peninsula. This source shed volcanic rock fragments and minor metamorphic rock fragments with variable amount of quartz and feldspars. This composition plots within the recycled orogen and dissected arc fields of the provenance diagrams representing periods of arc inactivity and deep erosion and plots within the volcanic arc fields after times of volcanic activity. On the other hand, sandstones with high proportion of quartz recorded at specific levels within the sequence suggest breakdown of less resistant components and reworking of the loose underlying sedimentary rocks favoured by low sedimentary rates and/or in high energy environments.

How to cite this article Marenssi, S.; Santillana, S.; Bauer, M. 2012, Stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology and provenance of the Sobral and Cross Valley formations (Paleocene), Marambio (Seymour) Island, Antarctica.. Andean Geology 39 (1) : 67-91. .