Geologische Rundschau

, Volume 86, Issue 4, pp 875-883

First online:

Soft-sediment deformation structures interpreted as seismites in the uppermost Aptian to lowermost Albian transgressive deposits of the Chihuahua basin (Mexico)

  • E. J.-P. BlancAffiliated withU.S. Geological Survey, MS 975, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025–3591, USA
  • , M.-C. Blanc-AlétruAffiliated withU.S. Geological Survey, MS 975, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025–3591, USA
  • , P.-O. MojonAffiliated withInstitut Dolomieu, 15 rue Maurice Gignoux, F-38031 Grenoble Cédex, France

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 Several levels of soft-sediment deformation structures (s.-s.d.s.) cut by synsedimentary normal faults have been observed in the transition beds between the “Las Vigas” and “La Virgen” formations (Cretaceous) in the northeastern part of the Chihuahua basin in Mexico. These structures consisted of four kinds of motifs (floating breccias, flame-like structures, large pillow structures, and wavy structures). They are restricted to five “stratigraphic” levels (Σ1–Σ5) and surrounded by undeformed beds in fluvio-lacustrine and tidal deposits and can be traced over a distance of several hundred meters. This deformation is interpreted to have resulted from the combined effects of liquidization and shear stress in soft-sediments due to local earthquakes in the area which could have been generated during the rifting stage of the Chihuahua basin. New constraints placed on the age of the “Las Vigas” Formation (bracketed by Late Aptian charophytes at the bottom and colomiellids of late Aptian to earliest Albian age at the top) suggest that this synrift tectonism lasted at least until the end of the Aptian.

Key words Late Aptian Early Albian Chihuahua basin Eustacy Liquidization Fluvio-lacustrine deposits Marine deposits Pedogenesis Rifting Sedimentology Seismites Soft-sediment deformation structures Stratigraphy Tidal deposits