Friday, December 18, 2015

Iharkút's Vertebrate Locality was Deposited by a Seasonal Flash Flood in a Low-level, wet, Alluvial Plain With a Humid, but Seasonal PaleoClimate

Facies architecture and palaeoenvironmental implications of the upper Cretaceous (Santonian) Csehbánya formation at the Iharkút vertebrate locality (Bakony Mountains, Northwestern Hungary)


Botfalvai et al


The Csehbánya Formation (Santonian), exposed in the Iharkút open-pit, Bakony Mountains, Hungary, is made up of a cyclic alternation of conglomerate, sandstone, and variegated siltstone and clay deposited in a fluviolacustrine environment. As a result of continuous excavation since 2002 it has yielded rich and diverse continental vertebrate and plant assemblages. A facies and architectural analysis of the Csehbánya Formation at this location identified four main lithofacies associations with eight subtypes consisting of (1) lenticular sandstones representing river channels, (2) conglomerates with sandstone (coarse grained likewise representing channel deposits), (3) heterolithic-channel fill (high density flash flow deposits) (4) splay sandstones produced by crevasse splays, (5) dark sandy siltstone (small-scale stagnant pool deposits with high organic content), (6) greenish-grey claystone (deposits of shallow lakes and ponds), (7) reddish (moderately drained) paleosols, and (8) yellowish, mottled (hydromorphic) paleosols.

The sedimentological investigations revealed that the terrestrial deposits exposed by the Iharkút open-pit were formed in an anastomosing fluvial system because: (i) the alluvial architecture is characterized by large proportion of overbank deposits encasing the channel sandstone bodies, (ii) the ribbon shaped sandstone bodies are dominant, (iii) cross-bedding and lateral accretion are almost completely absent in the channel fill deposits and (iv) the sandstone bodies are clearly isolated from each other, embedded in floodplain sediments, suggesting multiple co-existing channels.

The most important vertebrate fossil site (SZ-6) was examined in special detail because it shows peculiar lithological features. The layers richest in fossils (Unit 1) of SZ-6 site are interpreted as a lag deposit formed during an episodic high density flash flood event representing a relatively short time interval, i.e., probably within a single rainy season.

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