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Keywords:

  • process regime;
  • shelf;
  • delta;
  • Welsh Basin;
  • Silurian;
  • siliciclastic

Abstract

Shallow marine deposits comprising the Silurian Gray Sandstone Formation (GSF) exhibit pronounced process regime changes through time. The formation was deposited on the southern shelf of the Lower Palaeozoic Welsh Basin (UK), and conformably overlies the Coralliferous Formation. The basal Lithofacies Assemblage A (of Sheinwoodian age) is dominated by a storm-dominated process regime, comprising shoreface and offshore shelf facies associations. The overlying Lithofacies Assemblage B records a mixed process regime, with units being deposited under both storm- and tide-influenced conditions. Tidal-influence prevailed during deposition of the overlying Lithofacies Assemblage C, with proximal to distal facies variations across a significant tide-influenced river delta being observed. A return to storm-dominated shoreface conditions is seen in the succeeding Lithofacies Assemblage D. Lithofacies Assemblage E (Homerian age) records the return of a tide-influenced river delta to the area, prior to the conformable transition into the overlying Old Red Sandstone (ORS) Red Cliff Formation (of Ludlow age). Northward thickening of the formation across southern Pembrokeshire into the Musselwick Fault indicates a tectonic control on sedimentation, the formation infilling accommodation space developed in an intra-shelf half-graben. Recurring changes in process regime from storm- to tide-influenced sedimentation may be related to the onset and subsequent cessation of tidal resonance in sub-basins across the shelf area which itself was probably controlled by episodic tectonism. It is proposed that the Coralliferous and Gray Sandstone formations comprise the newly erected Marloes Group. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.