Tidal Influence Within Pennsylvanian Sandstones
ARCHER, ALLEN W., Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Within Pennsylvanian-age strata of the Illinois basin, large-scale, linear sand bodies have been previously interpreted as fluvial and deltaic in origin. Nonetheless, analyses of fine-scale sedimentology and bed forms within such sandstones and the associated shales indicate that tidal processes greatly influenced the depositional environments within such lithofacies. Recent work on Mid-Continent Pennsylvanian-age sandstones indicates the occurrence of similar depositional environments.
Based upon the pervasive tidal influence observed within such strata, environmental analogs other than fluvial and deltaic bear consideration. In general, tidally influenced estuarine models seem particularly appropriate. Within such settings, the changeover from a fluvially dominated deposystem to tidally influenced estuary occurs during transgressive phases. Despite the tidal influence that can be interpreted from the sedimentology, the strata contain few, if any, marine indicators because of the low salinities that occurred during deposition. In addition, high rates of sedimentation result in a high degree of preservation of organic materials derived from terrestrial sources.
Ongoing work in the Mid-Continent indicates that Morrowan, Atokan, Desmoinesian, Missourian, and Virgilian sands share a number of similarities with the tidally influenced environments delineated in the Illinois basin studies. Thus a tidal/estuarine interpretation might be a generalizable model for many Pennsylvanian sandstones. In addition, enhanced understanding of the siliciclastic parts of Mid-Continent cyclothems provides a more useful framework for documentation of carbonate/siliciclastic interrelationships. Oscillations of carbonate/siliciclastic environments may be more readily explainable by climatic cycles rather than by traditionally popular depth-related facies models.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91008©1991 AAPG Mid-Continent Section Meeting, Kansas Geological Society, Wichita Kansas, September 22-24, 1991 (2009)