Get access

Preservation of aeolian genetic units by lava flows in the Lower Cretaceous of the Paraná Basin, southern Brazil



The Lower Cretaceous geological record of the intracratonic Paraná Basin in southern Brazil comprises a thick succession of aeolian sandstones and volcanic rocks. The intercalation between aeolian sandstone and volcanic floods allowed the preservation of distinct aeolian genetic units. Each genetic unit represents an accumulation episode, bounded by supersurfaces, that coincides with the base of lava flood events. The entire package can be subdivided into a Lower Genetic Unit, which corresponds to aeolian sandstones preserved below the initial lava flows (Botucatu Formation), and an upper set of genetic units, which comprises interlayered aeolian deposits and lava floods (Serra Geral Formation). The Lower Genetic Unit is up to 100 m thick. Its base is composed of ephemeral stream and aeolian sand sheet deposits that are overlain by cross-bedded sandstones whose origin is ascribed to simple, locally composite, crescentic and complex linear aeolian dunes. Aeolian accumulation of the lower unit was possible as a result of the existence of a wide topographic basin, which caused wind deceleration, and a large sand availability that promoted a positive net sediment flux. The Upper Genetic Units comprise isolated sand bodies that occur in two different styles: (1) thin lenses (<3 m thick) formed by aeolian sand sheets; and (2) thick sand lenses (3–15 m) comprising cross-bedded cosets generated by migration and climbing of simple to locally composite crescentic aeolian dunes. Accumulation of the aeolian strata was associated with wind deceleration within depressions on the irregular upper surface of the lava floods. The interruption of sedimentation in the Lower and Upper Genetic Units, and related development of supersurfaces, occurred as a result of widespread effusions of basaltic lava. Preservation of both wind-rippled topset deposits of the aeolian dunes and pahoehoe lava imprints indicates that lava floods covered active aeolian dunes and, hence, protected the aeolian deposits from erosion, thus preserving the genetic units.