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Keywords:

  • Denmark;
  • Miocene;
  • palynology;
  • sequence stratigraphy;
  • spit;
  • wave-dominated delta

Abstract

The Upper Oligocene–Lower Miocene succession in eastern Jylland can be subdivided into three sequences (A–C from older to younger) deposited on and around the Ringkøbing-Fyn High. The development of the sequences reflects a complex interaction between eustatic sea-level changes, physiography and variable sediment supply. Superimposed on this, frequent storms promoted longshore sediment transport and the development of spit systems adjacent to structural highs. As a consequence, sequence boundaries and flooding surfaces are not always expressed as portrayed in conventional sequence models; sequence boundaries or flooding surfaces may only be marked by subtle changes in depositional environment that can only be revealed by careful integration of sedimentological observations with palynological data. The influence of the topography resulted in the development of brackish water basins that were sufficiently large to permit the deposition of hummocky cross-stratified sands with muds. These deposits are overlain by clean hummocky and swaley cross-stratified sands that were deposited in a fully marine, high-energy environment. This evolution from mud-rich, storm-influenced sediments to sand-dominated shoreface sediments resulted from a rise in sea level and was not the result of shoreface progradation and downstepping during a sea level fall. In addition to the topographic control on sequence development, sediment supply to the study area changed significantly during the deposition of the three sequences. Initially the basin was sediment-starved, favouring the formation of glaucony-rich sediments. The sediment input gradually increased and the influence of structural highs and lows became less significant with time. Consequently, both sequence boundaries and flooding surfaces are characterized by more conventional features in the younger part of the succession, where a basinward displacement of the shoreline resulted in thick lowstand delta deposits.