Turkana Grits--A Cretaceous Braided Alluvial System in Northern Kenya
C. Robertson Handford
Rather spotty but excellent exposures of the Cretaceous-age Turkana Grits occur near the western shore of Lake Turkana, northern Kenya. These very coarse to pebbly arkosic sandstones and sandy conglomerates were derived from and rest unconformably upon Precambrian metamorphic basement; they are overlain by late Tertiary basaltic flows that comprise much of the volcanics in the East African Rift Zone. The formation ranges up to 2,000 ft thick in the Laburr Range. Several outcrops contain sauropod, crocodile, and tortoise remains as well as abundant trunks of petrified wood (Dryoxylon.)
Five major facies make up the Turkana Grits and record a major episode of continental fluvial deposition in basins flanked by Precambrian basement. Facies 1 is crudely stratified, cobble and boulder conglomerate (clast-supported); Facies 2 is crudely stratified pebble-cobble conglomerate and pebbly sandstone; Facies 3 is trough cross-bedded, very coarse sandstones containing fossils wood and vertebrate remains; Facies 4 is crudely stratified to massive sandstones with ironstone nodules; and Facies 5 is red, purple, and gray mudstone and mud shale with carbonate nodules. Facies 1 through 3 record deposition in proximal to medial braided-stream channel, longitudinal bar and dune complexes. Facies 4 is a lowland, hydromorphic paleosol, and Facies 5 represents overbank and abandoned chann l-fill sedimentation in an alluvial plain.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.