The Cretaceous Uhangri Formation, SW Korea: lacustrine margin facies



The Uhangri Formation forms part of the Cretaceous sedimentary sequence deposited in a series of inland basins in the south-western Korean Peninsula. It comprises an approximately 400-m-thick epiclastic sequence of conglomerate, (gravelly) sandstone, cherty mudstone and black shale. The entire sequence can be represented by 16 distinctive sedimentary facies organized into four facies associations.

Facies association I is characterized by thick homogeneous brownish siltstone, wedge-shaped disorganized conglomerate and thinly interlayered gravelly sandstone units. The siltstone units were formed by large floods submerging the alluvial fan fringe (floodplain), whereas the conglomerate and gravelly sandstone units were deposited by sheetfloods and debris flows. Facies association II consists of stratified conglomerate — gravelly sandstone, laminated sandstone and sandstone/siltstone couplets which form fining-upward cycles. Some facies units are low-angle trough cross-bedded and show broad channel geometries. This association represents subaqueous delta lobes fed by high- and low-concentration turbidity currents in the distal delta realm. Facies association III is characterized, by wedged conglomerate and gravelly sandstone facies with interfingered massive sandstone bounded by scoured bases. It represents a delta front where distributary channels and mouth bars are dominant. Facies association IV consists of laterally continuous sequence of laminated black shale, crudely stratified sandstone and convoluted sandstone/cherty mudstone. This facies association is suggestive of depositional processes controlled by chemical equilibrium resulting from an interaction between density inflows and lake water. The cherty mudstone resulted from inorganic precipitation from siliceous solution provided by acidic volcanism.

The Uhangri sequence generally shows a fining-upward trend with a transition from alluvial fan fringe, coarse-grained subaqueous delta, to shallow lake. The retrogradation was probably due to continuous subsidence related to continental rifting in the oblique-slip mobile zone.