Facies Architecture and Stratigraphy of Tidal Ridges in the Eocene Roda Formation, Northern Spain
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ABSTRACT The Eocene Roda Formation in northern Spain documents the deposits from a range of coastal depositional environments. These include alluvial plains, distributary channels, mouth bars, upper to lower-shorefaces, and tidal shelf ridges. Eighteen progradational sand tongues that are interpreted as parasequences compose two third-order sequences. Sequence 1 accumulated in an environment with strong tidal currents and high rates of progradation, while Sequence 2 was deposited under relatively weaker currents and higher rates of aggradation, which produced a higher mudstone:sandstone ratio. The stratigraphy highlights the transgressive origin of six tidal shelf ridges, three in each sequence, that overlie regressive deltaic tongues. Sequence 1 shelf ridges are composed almost entirely of cross-bedded sandstones, whereas Sequence 2 ridges are composed of a mixture of cross-bedded and ripple-laminated deposits. Ridges in both sequences contain bioturbation that is typical of the Cruziana Ichnofacies, and that indicates a marine origin. The tidal ridges are stratigraphically located at or near the point of maximum third-order regression, and are not found within early highstand or late transgressive deposits― times of high relative sea level when the deltaic shoreline did not protrude significantly. Tidal currents were accentuated at the coast when the delta complex had prograded several kilometres into the basin, while during times of high relative sea level, the basin was wider and tidal currents were weaker, consequently leading to a lack of tidal deposits. The tidal ridges are, thus, interpreted as being headland-associated deposits.