Abstract: Climatic Controls on Pennsylvanian Sequences, United States
C. Blaine Cecil, Frank T. Dulong, N. Terence Edgar
Temporal and spatial paleoclimate changes were primary controls on changes in sediment supply, both siliciclastic and chemical, in Pennsylvanian deposystems of the United States. Tectonic and eustatic processes, as well as climatically induced changes in sediment supply, controlled accommodation space and sequence stratigraphy within these deposystems. Interbasinal correlations of lithologies sensitive to climate, such as coeval paleosols, provide continental-scale records of climatic and eustatic conditions. Pennsylvanian bio- and lithostratigraphy are indicative of climate change at time scales that range from long-term (tens of millions of years) as Pangea formed and North America moved northward through the paleoequator, to intermediate-term hundred thousand year cycles controlled by orbital forcing, to very short-term events perhaps analogous to El Nino. Because of proximity to the humid tropics, the long-term climate of eastern basins of the United States was generally wetter than western basins. In the east, pluvial arts of climate cycles occur during low-stand events and are recorded by intense chemical weathering, high terrestrial organic productivity, restricted erosion, and siliciclastic sediment starvation. These conditions resulted in highly leached mineral paleosols (Ultisols) and coal beds (Histosols) of interbasinal extent. Drier parts of climate cycles in the east occurred during highstands of sea level when erosion and siliciclastic transport were maximum. In the western basins pluvial periods are generally indicated by shifts from eolian to fluvial and lacustrine sedimentary regimes in continental environments and from evaporite and carbonate to siliciclastic deposition, including black shale petroleum source rocks, in marine environments. Tectonics controlled basin development and glaci l eustasy controlled sea level cycles. Climate, however, was the primary control on sediment supply and lithostratigraphy.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90951©1996 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela