Slope failure on a Cambrian carbonate platform, mass-flow transitions and resulting complex deposit

Zhaopeng Wang, Jiaye Liu, Antonius Johannes van Loon, Decheng Zhu, Peng Qin, Zuozhen Han


The quiet environment of the carbonate platform in the epeiric sea that existed during the Cambrian between present-day China and Korea was occasionally affected by processes that have hitherto not been described from such a setting. A conglomerate was found in the Middle Cambrian Gushan Formation near Chengouwan (Shandong Province, E China), eroded into the underlying sediments. The conglomerate is explained as a deposit consisting of material that was eroded up-slope when slope-failure took place, resulting in a slump that passed into a high-density debris flow with erosive power that passed, in turn, again into a slump. The slump came to rest when it lost its momentum on a less inclined part of the basin slope. Immediately after deposition, fluidization occurred in the lower part of the slump deposit, as proven by a funnel-shaped water-escape structure and a lateral injection of some metres long of brecciated material.


Gushan Formation; Middle Cambrian; epeiric sea; carbonate platform; mass-flow transitions

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