Lacustrine deltas in a Mesozoic alluvial sequence from Camp Hill, Antarctica



Sedimentary rocks of late Mesozoic age exposed at Camp Hill, northern Antarctic Peninsula, are associated with calc-alkaline volcanic rocks. They represent deposition on a fault-controlled floodplain, with marginal alluvial fans, on a volcanic arc. Finely laminated mudstone and occasional graded laminae were deposited from suspension and by density underflow currents, respectively, in small shallow lakes. Thickening- and coarsening-upward sandstone bodies overlying the lake deposits are interpreted as lacustrine deltas of which two types are preserved: (1) Gilbert-type with steep foresets and (2) mouth-bar type which lack steep foresets. Sections through the latter type reveal the presence of sub-environments characteristic of fluvial-dominated marine deltas, i.e. prodelta, distributary mouth-bar and distributary channel. Abandoned mouth-bars resulting from avulsion are recognized. It is suggested that the processes which operated during formation of the mouth-bar deltas resulted from hyperpycnal flow. By contrast, the Gilbert-type delta is thought to be the consequence of a reduced inflow of suspended sediment causing homopycnal flow, and thorough mixing of the river and lake waters.