Hummocky cross-stratification-like structures in deep-sea turbidites: Upper Cretaceous Basque basins (Western Pyrenees, France)



Hummocky cross-stratification is a sedimentary structure which is widely interpreted as the sedimentary record of an oscillatory current generated by energetic storm waves remobilizing surface sediment on the continental shelf. Sedimentary structures named hummocky cross-stratification-like structures, similar to true hummocky cross-stratification, have been observed in the Turonian–Senonian Basque Flysch Basin (south-west France). The bathymetry (1000 to 1500 m) suggests that the observed sedimentary structures do not result from a hydrodynamic process similar to those acting on a continental shelf. The morphology of these three-dimensional structures shares similarities with the morphology of hummocky cross-stratification despite a smaller size. The lateral extent of these structures ranges from a few decimetres to many decimetres; they consist of convex-up domes (hummock) and concave-up swales with a non-erosive base. Four types of hummocky cross-stratification-like geometries are described; they occur in association with structures such as climbing current ripple lamination and synsedimentary deformations. In the Basque Flysch, hummocky cross-stratification-like structures are only found in the Tc interval of the Bouma sequence. Hummocky cross-stratification-like structures are sporadic in the stratigraphic series and observed only in few turbidite beds or bed packages. This observation suggests that hummocky cross-stratification-like structures are linked genetically to the turbidity current but form under a very restricted range of parameters. These structures sometimes show an up-current (upslope) migration trend (antidunes). In the described examples, they could result from standing waves forming at the upper flow interface because of Kelvin–Helmholtz instability.