DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/andgeoV43n2-a04

Depositional model and sequential evolution of the upper Quintuco Formation in its type area: implications for paleogeographic reconstructions for the southern Neuquén Basin during the Valanginian

Mariana S. Olivo, Ernesto Schwarz, Gonzalo D. Veiga

Abstract


The Quintuco Formation (Berriasian-early Valanginian) in central Neuquén province comprise marine, transitional and continental deposits. These deposits were included in several regional stratigraphic studies since the 80’s but receiving little attention in terms of detailed facies analysis, palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and evolution. Understanding the evolutionary stage corresponding to cusp section of the Quintuco Formation and its relation with basal deposits of the Mulichinco Formation, is key to estimate the magnitude of associated change to the event of basin reconfiguration occurred in the early later Valanginian. In order to reconstruct the final stages of the evolution of the Quintuco Formation in its type locality (Sierra de la Vaca Muerta), a facial, architectural and sequence-stratigraphic analysis of the uppermost interval is presented. The study comprise the sedimentological description and interpretation of facies, combined with architectural analysis of key intervals. This allowed the identification of 7 facies associations, which represent the accumulation in prodelta (FA 1), delta front (FA 2 and FA 3), distal delta plain (FA 4 y FA 5) and proximal delta plain (FA 6 and FA 7). Subsequently, the spatial distribution of the different facies associations were analyzed and key surfaces related to significant changes in the depositional settings were identified across the investigated region. In this context, sequence-stratigraphic analysis of the studied interval was addressed and stacking patterns of the successions and vertical evolution of the interval are discussed. The upper interval of the Quintuco Formation represents the development of a deltaic system, where fluvial processes were dominant, but waves affected the off-axis parts of the system. The proximal areas were located towards the southwest with prodelta settings located toward the east. The delta system was built by successive shallowing-upward successions (15-40 m), bounded by regional transgressive surfaces, and with a long-term progradational staking. The reconstructed paleogeography for the last evolutionary stage of the Quintuco Formation suggest a well-established source area from the west-southwest, that would represent a new insight for paleogeographic settings for the southern Neuquén Basin during the Valanginian.

Keywords


Neuquén Basin; Quintuco Formation; Early Valanginian; Mixed delta system

How to cite this article Olivo, M.; Schwarz, E.; Veiga, G. 2016, Depositional model and sequential evolution of the upper Quintuco Formation in its type area: implications for paleogeographic reconstructions for the southern Neuquén Basin during the Valanginian. Andean Geology 43 (2): 215-239. [doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/andgeoV43n2-a04]