Depositional systems and sequence stratigraphy of coarse-grained deltas in a shallow-marine, strike-slip setting: the Bohemian Cretaceous Basin, Czech Republic



Deposits of coarse-grained, Gilbert-type deltas showing varying degrees of reworking of foresets by basinal currents were identified in Middle Turonian to Early Coniacian sandstones of the Bohemian Cretaceous Basin. The progradation of the deltaic packages, earlier interpreted as large-scale subaqueous dunes, shelf ridges or subaqueous fault-scarp ‘accumulation terraces’, was controlled by high- and low-frequency, relative sea-level changes in a relatively slowly subsiding, intracontinental strike-slip basin. End-member types of the Bohemian Cretaceous coarse-grained deltas are deep-water deltas, characterized by thick (50–80 m) foreset packages with steep (10–30°) foresets, and shallow-water deltas, which deposited thin (<15 m) packages with foresets typically between 4° and 10°. The differences in thickness and foreset slope angle were controlled predominantly by the accommodation available during progradation. The depositional regime of the deltas was governed by (i) the fluvial input of abundant sand bedload, with a minor proportion of gravel; (ii) gravity flows, most probably caused by liquefaction of the upper part of the unstable foreset slope; and (iii) migration of sandy bedforms on the foreset slopes. The bedform migration was driven by unidirectional currents of possible tidal origin. Individual foreset packages represent systems tracts, or parts of systems tracts, of depositional sequences. A variety of stacking patterns of high-frequency sequences exists in the basin, caused by low-frequency relative sea-level changes as well as by local changes in sediment input. Because of generally low subsidence rates, fluvial or beach topset strata were not preserved in the cases studied. The absence of preserved fluvial facies, which has been one of the main arguments against the fluvio-deltaic origin of the sandstone bodies, is explained by erosion of the topsets during transgression and their reworking into coarse-grained lags of regional extent covering ravinement surfaces.