Sedimentary paleoenvironments of the Toro Negro Formation (Neogene), Andean broken foreland, northwest Argentina.

Patricia Lucía Ciccioli, Sergio A Marenssi
Año de la publicación: 
2 012
Andean Geology Vol 39, No 3 (2012) >
The Toro Negro Formation (Neogene) records the sedimentation in the broken-foreland VinchinaBasin during the Andean Orogeny, in northwestern Argentina. This unit is composed of conglomerates, sandstonesand mudstones together with some beds of breccias and tuffs deposited mainly in fluvial environments. Eleven faciesassociations (FA) were identified in this unit, eight of them corresponding to the lower member and three to the uppermember. FAI is composed of massive intraformational megabreccias and cross-bedded conglomerates deposited inbraided fluvial systems that filled a deep fluvial paleovalley formed in the north of the studied region. FAII was onlyidentified in marginal positions of the paleovalley and is composed of intraformational breccias and sandstones formingchannel belts incised within alluvial plains deposits. FAIII comprises gravelly channel belts and sandy floodplainsdominated by crevasse splays interpreted as deposited in semiarid anastomosing fluvial systems. FAIV showscoarsening-upward successions with thick muddy alluvial plain deposits including thin crevasse splays and gravellysingle channels. Encapsulated channel complexes composed of coarse-grained sandstones and scarce conglomerates,form FAV. FAVI covers a low-relief erosive surface and is mainly composed of conglomerates and gravelly sandstonesdeposited in broad alluvial plains. This fluvial complex evolved to a lower-energy system (FAVII) characterized by anincrease of muddy floodplain deposits and the existence of fine-grained sandstone lobes with gravelly lenses. FAVIIIis dominated by mudstones deposited in a playa lake environment. In the upper member, FAIX corresponds to deepgravel-bed braided streams. FAX is composed of fine-grained deposits of a highly aggradational fluvial plain. Finally,FAXI mainly consists of breccias and conglomerates deposited in streamflow-dominated piedmonts. Three stages wererecognized in the paleoenvironmental evolution of the Toro Negro Formation. Stage I (Early Miocene) corresponds tothe generation and infill of the paleovalley, by fluvial systems coming from the west (FAI-V) in the northern-centralpart of the basin. Stage II (Medium to Late Miocene) consists of gravelly-sandy fluvial systems (FAVI-VII) progradingfrom the north-northwest towards the playa lake (FAVIII) developed in the south. Finally, Stage III (upper member, LateMiocene-Early Pliocene) corresponds to pulses of clastic-wedge progradation (FAIX-XI) from the west (Precordillera).