Facies sequences of a semi-arid closed basin: the Lower Jurassic East Berlin Formation of the Hartford Basin, New England, U.S.A.



The Lower Jurassic East Berlin Formation exposed in the centre of the Hartford Basin can be divided into six facies: (1) laminated black mudstone is composed of very finely-laminated, organic-bearing clay-stone with common millimetre-scale lenses of dolomitic siltstone; (2) planar laminated mudstone is commonly mudcracked and composed of thickly-laminated, red, green or grey mudstone with common centimetre-scale lenses of sandstones; (3) disrupted mudstone has a complex, desiccation-cracked fabric; (4) planar- and large-scale trough cross-stratified sandstones are composed of moderately well-sorted medium- to coarse-grained arkoses; (5) small-scale, cross-stratified silty sandstones with common climbing-ripple structure; and (6) interbedded sandstones and mudstones which commonly carry desiccation cracks.

Mudstone facies are organized into repetitive, metre-scale facies sequences which change gradationally upwards from laminated black mudstones to planar-laminated mudstones to disrupted mudstones. Facies sequences have sharp tops and bottoms and record increasing desiccation upwards. There are 15 such cycles in the upper 100 m of the formation in central Connecticut. They record long periods of dry playa mudflat aggradation punctuated by the rapid expansion and contraction of perennial lakes.

The sandy facies occur as single, decimetre-scale sedimentation units or as two or more stacked sedimentation units up to 1 m thick. These record sheet floods across ephemeral floodplains.