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Depositional Environments of the Santa Margarita Formation in the Miocene Santa Maria Basin, Huasna Syncline

PHILLIPS, R. LAWRENCE, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA

Preliminary investigations of the depositional environments of the middle sandstone member of the late middle Miocene Santa Margarita Formation in the Huasna syncline suggests a current-dominated shallow shelf environment. Progradation of coarse-grained clastic and bioclastic-rich sediment over siltstone documents the initial stage of deposition of this sand body. Overlying the basal intensely bioturbated bioclastic sediments are large-scale tabular cross-beds, up to 16 m thick, interbedded with tabular lag deposits of barnacles, oysters, and echinoids. The tabular fossil-rich beds, which form sequences up to 6 m thick between the large-scale cross-beds, represent either deposition of bottomset beds of the large-scale cross-beds or current swept lag deposits. Increasing energy conditi ns are recorded vertically by a decrease in the amount of bioturbation and by an increase in large-scale cross-bed sets and cosets. However, in the northern outcrop area subtidal channels are incised into the upper bioclastic sediments suggesting local shoaling conditions. Paleocurrent data record a unidirectional southwest-directed current trend normal to the basin axis and the East Huasna fault. The coarse clastic deposition terminates with deposition of siltstone as energy conditions decreased and water depth again increased.

A current-swept shallow shelf containing extensive sandwaves comprises the major depositional environments. The paleocurrent data and large-scale cross-beds suggest that the shallow shelf extended to the east of the Huasna syncline and that the currents were most likely tidal in origin.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91009©1991 AAPG-SEPM-SEG-SPWLA Pacific Section Annual Meeting, Bakersfield, California, March 6-8, 1991 (2009)