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Title: Functioning of an ancient routing system, the Escanilla Formation, South Central Pyrenees
Author: Michael, Nikolaos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 7750
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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The thesis topic concerns the analysis of a well-exposed Eocene sediment routing system in the wedge-top zone of the southern Pyrenees. The Escanilla sediment routing system can be used as a case study of generic value in understanding the dynamics of an ancient source-to-sink system. The Escanilla Formation is a mid-upper Eocene (Bartonian – Priabonian) siliciclastic sedimentary system that was sourced from the Axial Zone of the Pyrenees and deposited on top of the fold-thrust belt of the south-central tectonic unit. Its deposits are found in the Tremp-Graus and Ainsa basins and distal time equivalent units are found in the Jaca basin. The project involves the definition of the sediment routing system linking source area catchments and depositional sinks. It investigates the provenance of sediment in the basin-fill, tracks down-system sedimentological and granulometric trends, and evaluates the volumetric budget of the entire sediment routing system. The reconstruction of the sediment routing system fairway was aided by new provenance data comprising U/Pb dating of detrital zircons, detrital apatite fission track analysis, and evaluation of clast lithologies in fluvial conglomerates, compilation of palaeoflow indicators from sedimentary structures, and a pilot study of heavy minerals. A correlation panel is proposed dividing the Escanilla system into three time intervals. Sedimentary facies changes, grain-size of conglomerate and grain-size fractions are analysed quantitatively from proximal to distal stations within these three time intervals. The fairway, combined with sedimentary logs, allows a sediment budget to be constructed. Depositional volumes and surface fluxes are calculated for the three time intervals, allowing the temporal evolution of the sediment routing system to be constrained. Knowledge of the evolution of sediment budgets and fluxes through time allows an assessment of the sediment effluxes of catchment areas feeding the Escanilla system, and helps an understanding of how supply signals (grain-size fractions and sediment volumes) are propagated down-system. Such propagation is a vital tool in stratigraphic prediction.
Supervisor: Allen, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral