Stratigraphy and depositional architecture of the Viamonte Formation, Miocene, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina: the interplay between deep-marine transverse and longitudinal depositional systems

Eduardo B. OLIVERO


ABSTRACT.- In the Atlantic coast of Tierra del Fuego, Miocene, foreland Austral basin strata of the Viamonte Formation are currently interpreted as deep marine channel-levee complexes. New data on sedimentary facies, paleocurrents, and stratigraphic relationships documents, however, more complex settings. We recognize in the Viamonte Formation three higher-rank architectural elements: 1) a transverse system of gullies and other slope deposits, including gully axis, gully off-axis/gully margin, and slope-gully abandonment sub-elements; 2) an axial system, the channel belt, including channel fill, lateral accretion, internal-levee/terrace, and basal slumps sub-elements; and 3) another axial system, the external levee. Gullies in the transverse system are carved into external-levee deposits of the Viamonte Formation or older lobe deposits. Dominant sedimentary facies are mass transport deposits in the gully fill; thin-bedded turbidites in the external levee, internal levee, and terraces; and thick, high-density turbidite sandstones in the channel fill. In the transverse system, paleocurrents are directed to the NW-NE, down dip high-relief progradational clinoforms, and in the axial systems to the SE, parallel to the basin foredeep. Axial systems are located either at the base, or at subtle slope-breaks of transverse clinoforms. The envisaged depositional architectures of these axial and transverse systems offer excellent analogues for similar, poorly exposed Upper Cretaceous-Paleogene Austral basin turbidites and may help to interpret the source and routing of sand-rich deposits in the adjacent Malvinas foreland basin.

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Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina. ISSN en línea 1851-8249.ISSN impreso 0004-4822. ISSN CD-ROM 2250-5571. Registro de la Propiedad Intelectual Nº 52500703. Asociación Geológica Argentina. Maipú 645 (1006), Buenos Aires, República Argentina. Teléfono y Fax:  (+54) 11 4325 3104.