Datapages, Inc.Print this page

ABSTRACT: Recognition of Synodic and Tropical Tidal Periodicities in Tidal Rhythmites

Allen W. Archer, Erik P. Kvale, Hallis P. Johnson

Tidal processes are capable of producing bedding that records individual tidal events; however, only within the last decade have tidal cycles, such as neap-spring periodicities become widely recognized. Such cycles have been documented within thinly laminated, vertically accreted siltstones. The laminae exhibit systematic patterns of thickening and thinning that have been equated to the lunar orbital period (synodic month). However, modern tides are subject to periodicities other than the synodic month and such additional periods can be the causative mechanism for neap-spring tidal periods. Gravitational interactions of the earth, moon, and sun generate tides that fluctuate with periods that correspond to the phases of the moon (synodic month), declination of the moon (tr pical month), and distance of the moon from the earth (anomalistic month). Although harmonic analyses of semidiurnal tidal data indicate that such systems are controlled by synodic factors, there are also indications that diurnal systems can be controlled by tropical factors. Thus neap-spring periods are not only related to lunar phase (synodic month), but can be related to tropical month (lunar declination) in diurnal systems.

Analysis of laminae-thickness periodicities in a variety of Pennsylvanian tidal rhythmites, which include apparent examples of diurnal as well as semidiurnal tidal patterns, indicates similarities to modern tidal systems. For example, semidiurnal tidal rhythmites exhibit not only synodic periodicities but also exhibit a weaker, tropical periodicity. Conversely, within rhythmites that exhibit a diurnal pattern, it is not completely clear whether tropical or synodic periodicities are being expressed.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990