Diagnostic criteria using microfacies for calcareous contourites, turbidites and pelagites in the Eocene–Miocene slope succession, southern Cyprus
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Carbonate microfaciesContinental slopeContouritesCyprusDeep-marine depositsPelagitesTurbidites
Hüneke, H., Hernández-Molina, F. J., Rodríguez-Tovar, F. J., Llave, E., Chiarella, D., Mena, A., & Stow, D. A. (2019). Diagnostic criteria using microfacies for calcareous contourites, turbidites and pelagites in the Eocene-Miocene slope succession, southern Cyprus. Sedimentology. [doi: 10.1111/sed.12792]
SponsorshipSpanish Ciencia y Tecnologias Marinas projects CTM 2012-39599C03 CGL2016-80445-R CTM2016-75129-C3-1-R; Secretaria de Estado de I+D+I, Spain CGL201566835-P PID2019-104625RB-100P; FEDER Andalucía B-RNM-072-UGR18; Junta de Andalucía P18-RT-4074; Universidad de Granada UCE2016-05; Projekt DEAL (University of Greifswald in the Alliance of German Science Organizations)
Interbedded contourites, turbidites and pelagites are commonplace in many deep-water slope environments. However, the distinction between these different facies remains a source of controversy. This detailed study of calcareous contourites and associated deep-marine facies from an Eocene–Miocene sedimentary succession on Cyprus clearly documents the diagnostic value of microfacies in this debate. In particular, the variability of archetypical bi-gradational contourite sequences and their internal subdivision (bedding, layering and lamination) are explored. Contourites can be distinguished from turbidites, pelagites and hemipelagites by means of carbonate microfacies in combination with bed-scale characteristics. Particle composition provides valuable information on sediment provenance. Depositional texture, determined by the ratio between carbonate mud and bioclasts, is crucial for identifying bi-gradational sequences in both muddy and sandy contourites, and normally-graded sequences in turbidite beds. Equally important are the type and preservation of traction structures, as well as the temporality and impact of bioturbation. Shell fragmentation under conditions of increased hydrodynamic agitation (textural inversion) is recognized as a carbonate-specific feature of bioclastic sandy contourites.