Carbonate facies, sequences and associated diagenesis, Upper Cretaceous, Tremp Basin, Spanish Pyrenees
This thesis details the results of an integrated study of carbonate platform sedimentology, geometry, evolution and diagenesis within a sequence stratigraphic framework. This study has been based on the Upper Cretaceous carbonates within the Tremp basin of the Spanish Pyrenees, which, through the effects of minor tectonic deformation during the later parts of the Pyrenean orogeny, are exceptionally well exposed and can be studied in the form of a platform to basin cross-section upon a scale that is comparable to that of a seismic section. This study concentrates on the mid-Turonian to Coniacian-aged Congest platform and its associated basinal succession, whose sedimentology and geometrical features, in particular cyclic progradational cycles, and evidence of repeated flooding and exposure of the platform-top are interpreted in terms of . fluctuations in relative sea-level and associated variations in available accommodation space. These interpretations, together with evidence of subaerial exposure in the form of karst features, intensive dissolution and the presence of speleo-cements, are used to propose a dynamic 'forced regression' model for the evolution of the Congost platform, which involves two phases of platform development, separated by a period of forced regression. The primary and secondary porosity afforded by the abundant bi-mineralic rudists within the platform-top sediments allows for a detailed and comprehensive diagenetic study of these carbonates, in the form of a case study for a number of interesting diagenetic features. In addition to standard petrography, cathodoluminescence and stable isotope studies have been employed and have allowed the identification of such features as botryoidal calcitic marine cements, neomorphism which occurred in lagoonal waters and speleo-cements. This study also provides a detailed investigation of the diagenesis associated with subaerial exposure and the development of sequence boundaries. Differences in the early diagenesis of these carbonates from different parts of the Congost platform suggest that two separate phases of platform development experienced: 1) differing pore-fluid regimes; 2) differing frequencies and duration of subaerial exposure events; and 3) different magnitudes of relative sea-level fall. These features are considered in terms of variations in accommodation space during platform development and are used to develop the dynamic 'forced regression' model for the evolution of the Congost platform. A succession of Cenomanian to Santonian-aged basinal and slope sediments which can be correlated with the contemporaneous Santa Fe, Congost and Sant Comeli platforms and contain a large amount of allochthonous debris, much of which is derived from underiying units, are described and interpreted in terms of local tectonic activity and relative sea-level change. The final part of this thesis presents a new sequence stratigraphic model for the mid-Turonian to Coniacian-aged Congost platform which is compatible with the observations and conclusions of this study. This new sequence stratigraphic model suggests that the Congost platform developed within two separate depositional sequences, albeit with one being on a much larger scale than the other. Sequence boundaries are characterised by subaerial exposure on the platform top which can be correlated with hardgrounds and/or glauconite accumulations within the more basinal locations, overlain by deeper-water facies. The presence of submarine onlap surfaces and down-slope slide deposits immediately above the sequence boundaries suggests that the major transgressive events which followed sequence boundary development were brought about by local extensional tectonic activity, while the stratigraphic cyclicity within the sequences and major falls in sea-level which produced the sequence boundaries are interpreted to have resulted largely from eustatic processes.