Shallow marine sand bar sequences: an example from the late Precambrian of North Norway



    1. Department of Geology and Mineralogy, The University, Parks Road, Oxford OXl 3PR
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      Sedimentology Group, Universities of Leiden and Utrecht, Geologisch en Mincralogisch Instituut. Garenmarkt Ib, Leiden, Netherlands.


Five coarsening upward shallow marine sandstone sequences (2–10 m thick), are described from the late Precambrian of North Norway, where they occur in a laterally continuous and tectonically undeformed outcrop.

The sequences consist of five facies with distinct assemblages of sedimentary structures and palaeocurrent patterns. Each facies is the product of alternate phases of sedimentation during relatively high- and low-energy periods. Facies 1 to 4 are interpreted as representing prograding, subtidal sand bars. Sand bar progradation occurred during the highest energy periods when unidirectional currents flowed to the northwest, depositing trough cross-bedded sandstones (facies 3 and 4) on the bar crests and flanks, and sheet sandstone beds (facies 1 and 2) in the offshore environments. Weaker northwesterly flowing currents continued during moderate energy fair weather periods. Low energy fair weather periods were dominated by wave processes, which formed largescale, low-angle, westerly inclined surfaces on the bar flanks (facies 4) and wave rippled sandstone beds (facies 2) and flat laminated siltstone layers (facies 1) in the offshore environments.

One sand bar was dissected by channels and infilled by tabular cross-bedded sandstones (facies 5). Bipolar palaeocurrent evidence, with two modes separated into two laterally equivalent channel systems, suggests deposition by tidal currents in mutually evasive ebb and flood channels.

The inferred processes of these sand bars are compared with those associated with modern storm-generated and tidal current generated linear sand ridges. Both are influenced by the interaction of relatively low and high energy conditions. The presence of the tidal channel facies, however, combined with the inferred strong bottom current regime, is more analogous to a tidal current hydraulic regime.