The Tunas Formation (Permian) in the Sierras Australes foldbelt, east central Argentina

evidence for syntectonic sedimentation in a foreland basin

O. R. Lopez-Gamundi*, P. J. Conaghan, E. A. Rossello, P. R. Cobbold

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    57 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The Tunas Formation, extensively exposed in the Sierras Australes foldbelt of eastern central Argentina, completes the sedimentation of the Gondwanan (Late Carboniferous-Permian) sequence, locally known as the Pillahuincó Group. The underlying units of the Group show an integrated depositional history which can be explained in terms of glaciomarine sedimentation (Sauce Grande Formation) and postglacial transgression (Piedra Azul and Bonete Formations). This succession also has a rather uniform quartz-rich, sand-sized composition indicative of a cratonic provenance from the Tandilia Massif to the northeast. Early to Late Permian deformation folded and thrusted the southwestern basin margin (Sierras Australes) and triggered the deposition of a 1,500 m - thick, synorogenic prograding wedge, the Tunas Formation, in the adjacent foreland basin (Sauce Grande or Claromecó Basin). Sandstone detrital modes for the Tunas deposits show moderate to low contents of quartz and abundant lithics, mostly of volcanic and metasedimentary origin. Paleocurrents are consistently from the SW. Tuffs interbedded with sandstones in the upper half of Tunas Formation (Early - early Late? Permian) are interpreted as being derived from volcanic glass-rich tuffs settled in a body of water. Extensive rhyolitic ignimbrites and consanguineous airborne tuffaceous material erupted in the northern Patagonian region during that period. The age constraints and similarities in composition between these volcanics and the tuffaceous horizons present in the Sauce Grande, Parana and Karoo Basins suggest a genetic linkage between these two episodes. The intimate relationship between volcanic activity inboard of the paleo-Pacific margin, deformation in the adjacent orogenic belt and subsidence and sedimentation in the contiguous foreland basin constitutes a common motif in the Sauce Grande and Karoo Basins of southwestern Gondwana.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129-142
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
    Volume8
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1995

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