Aspects of Cyclic Sedimentation in the Upper Mississippian, Mauch Chunk Group, southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia
Buller, Ty Bradford
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Late Mississippian, Mauch Chunk Group strata constitute a westward-thinning clastic wedge of strata up to 1000m thick that developed in the Central Appalachian Basin over a ~ 7 million year time interval. Included within the Mauch Chunk Group are multiple incised-valley fills and a distinctive prodeltaic succession of laminated sandstones and mudstones. Calculated estimates of drainage basin areas for incised-valley fills in the Mauch Chunk Group range from > 1,000,000 km2 for the Stony Gap Sandstone to < 100,000 km2 for the Princeton Formation. Drainage area estimates are consistent with detrital zircon geochronology and petrographic data and suggest that the Stony Gap and Ravencliff incised-valley fills were derived from distal, northern and northwestern cratonic sources that dispersed sediment into NE-SW-oriented, longitudinal incised-valley drainages and that the Princeton Formation was derived from proximal tectonic highland sources along the eastern margin of the Appalachian Basin which dispersed sediment into a transverse incised-valley. The Pride Shale overlies the Princeton incised valley fill and records a hierarchy of tidal periodicities is preserved in the Pride Shale. Microlaminated, semi-diurnal sandstone-siltstone/shale couplets record the dominant ebb tide of the day. Up to 17 semi-diurnal couplets are stacked into neap-spring (fortnightly) tidal cycles. Neap-spring cycles are arranged in thickening and thinning that record seasonal cycles driven by the annual monsoon. Total organic carbon (TOC) values are a proxy for annual climatic cycles. TOC contents are higher within intermonsoonal and lower within monsoonal components of annual cycles reflecting, respectively, lesser and greater dilution by terrestrial flux.
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