The sedimentology and depositional environments of the Bastians Dal and Muslingebjerg formations: evidence for the earliest phases of Jurassic rifting in North-East Greenland
Keywords:Jurassic, Tectonics, Coal, Fluvial, North-East Greenland
The aim of this study is to elucidate the character of the earliest phases of Jurassic rifting in North-East Greenland. To achieve this, detailed sedimentological analysis and geological mapping were undertaken on the outcrops of central Kuhn Ø (74°53’55’’N,20°20’56”W). In this region the basement is overlain by the fluvial Bastians Dal Formation (Middle Jurassic) which is, in turn, overlain by the coal-bearing Muslingebjerg Formation. A maximum thickness of 140 m is calculated for the Bastians Dal Formation and mapping of stratal geometries demonstrates thinning to both the north and south, confirming that these deposits infill a palaeovalley. Predominantly south-westward palaeocurrent orientations are observed and likely reflect the orientation of the palaeovalley (NE–SW). The overlying Muslingebjerg Formation displays significant lateral variations in thickness as well as facies, thickening from a 5-m-thick coal seam in the north to 50 m in the south. Southern outcrops include two intervals of fine-grained sandstones displaying low-angle and trough cross-bedding some of which contain suggestions of tidal bundling. The arrangement of facies suggests that coal formation occurred in both fluvial- and shallow-marine (tidal?) environments. Coals are similar to those described elsewhere from the Muslingebjerg Formation and display subtle differences consistent with variable degrees of marine influence. Mapping demonstrates the presence of an NE–SW-oriented bounding fault in the south of the region into which the Muslingebjerg Formation thickens. This likely also controlled the orientation of the underlying NE–SW-aligned palaeovalley and is oblique to the proposed overall N–S orientation of faulting related to rifting through the Mid to Late Jurassic. Instead, these alignments resemble those that define pre-Jurassic phases of rifting and may therefore indicate a transitional phase of tectonism. Faulting on a similar alignment can be traced SW, cutting Lindeman Fjord and following the valleys east of the A. P. Olsen Land plateau.
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