An Early Jurassic braided river system from Mehadia, South Carpathians, Romania

Artur Kędzior, Mihai E. Popa

Abstract


The Lower Jurassic (Hettangian–Sinemurian) continental deposits of the Mehadia area (Caraş–Severin County) belong to the Presacina Basin, Upper Danubian Units of the South Carpathians, Romania. This un-named succession is exposed along large areas within the Greaţca Quarry where deposits of a complex braided river system can be seen. Nine clastic facies are identified within the Mehadia section and grouped into two facies associations reflecting two main sub-environments. (A) a fine-grained association, up to 6.5 m thick, composed of greyish black and dark grey massive and horizontally laminated mudstones interbedded with fine- to medium-grained sandstones showing ripple lamination, tabular low-angle large-scale cross-bedding and in some places massive sandstones. Within this association coarsening and fining-upward sequences are visible, while subordinate pensymmetrical-like sequences were observed. The sediments of the fine-grained association are interpreted as having been deposited along an alluvial plain from flood waters. The sandstone interbeds are interpreted as crevasse channel-fills and the thinner sandstone bodies as proximal crevasse splays. (B) a coarse-grained facies association represented by sandstones and conglomerates, both clast- and matrix-supported, from granule to pebble clast sizes. Almost all basal members of this association are underlain by erosional surfaces, while internal erosional surfaces occur at some levels. The coarse-grained facies association is interpreted as having been deposited within active river channels of a sandy braided river system. The occurrence of numerous erosional surfaces, the recurrence of the facies within this association (channel bodies), as well as the abundant mudstone and sandstone intraclasts all point to frequent conditions of erosion (including redeposition) of previously deposited sediments. The relatively low fine-grained sediment content (<25%) can be explained by two factors: (1) a creation rate for accommodation space was not enough for the accumulation of a large amount of overbank deposits; (2) a lack of larger quantities of fine-grained material being transported in the river system. Both factors may have operated independently or interacted.


Keywords


sedimentology; Lower Jurassic; continental deposits; Mehadia; South Carpathians; Romania

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