4D paleoenvironmental evolution of the Early Triassic Sonoma Foreland Basin (western USA)

Abstract : In the wake of the Mesozoic, the Early Triassic (~251.95 Ma) corresponds to the aftermath of the most severe mass extinction of the Phanerozoic: the end-Permian crisis, when life was nearly obliterated (e.g., 90% of marine species disappeared). Consequences of this mass extinction are thought to have prevailed for several millions of years, implying a delayed recovery lasting the whole Early Triassic, if not more.Several paradigms have been established and associated to a delayed biotic recovery scenario expected to have resulted from harsh and deleterious paleoenvironments. These paradigms include a global anoxia in the marine realm, a “Lilliput” effect, and the presence of “disaster” taxa and “anachronistic” facies. However, recent works have shown a more complex global scheme for the Early Triassic recovery, and that a reevaluation of these paradigms was needed. Especially, new data from the western USA basin were critical in re-addressing these paradigms.The western USA basin is the result of a long tectono-sedimentary history that started 2 Gyr ago by the amalgamation of different lithospheric terranes forming its basement. A succession of orogenies and quiescence phases led to the formation of several successive basins in the studied area, and traces of this important geodynamical activity are still present today. The Sonoma orogeny occurred about 252 Ma in response to the eastward migration of drifting arcs toward the Laurentian craton. As a result, compressive constrains lead to the obduction of the Golconda Allochthon above the west-Pangea margin in present-day Nevada. Emplacement of this topographic load provoked the lithosphere flexuration beneath present-day Utah and Idaho to form the Sonoma Foreland Basin (SFB) studied in this work.The SFB record an excellent fossil and sedimentary record of the Early Triassic. A relatively high and complex biotic diversity has been observed there leading to describe a rapid and explosive recovery for some groups (e.g., ammonoids) in this basin after the end-Permian crisis. The sedimentary record is also well developed and has been studied extensively for a long time. Overall, these studies notably documented a marked difference between the northern and southern sedimentary succession within the basin, whose origin was poorly understood.This work therefore aims to characterize the various depositional settings in the Early Triassic SFB, as well as their paleogeographical distribution. Their controlling factors are also studied based on an original integrated method using sedimentological, paleontological, geochemical, geodynamical, structural and cartographic analyses. Aside the fossil and sedimentary discrepancy between the northern and the southern parts of the SFB, geochemical analyses provide new insights supporting this N/S dichotomy. This study also questions the validity of the geochemical signal as a tool for global correlation, as it appears to mainly reflect local forcing parameters.The geodynamical framework of the SFB was also investigated along with a numerical modelling of the rheological behavior of the basin. This work distinguishes the northern and southern parts of the basin based on markedly distinct tectonic subsidence rates during the Early Triassic: ~500 m/Myr in the northern part vs ~100m/Myr in the southern part. Origin of this remarkable difference is found in inherited properties of the basin basement itself. Indeed, different ages and therefore, rheological behaviors (i.e., rigidity to deformation and flexuration) of the basement lithospheric terranes act as a major controlling factor over the spatial distribution of the subsidence, and therefore of the sedimentary deposition. The lithosphere heritage is thus of paramount importance in the formation, development and spatio-temporal evolution of the SFB.This work leads to a new paleogeographical representation of the Sonoma Foreland Basin and its multi-parameter controlling factors (...).
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Gwénaël Caravaca. 4D paleoenvironmental evolution of the Early Triassic Sonoma Foreland Basin (western USA). Geomorphology. Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017UBFCK039⟩. ⟨tel-02181156⟩



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