Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Sequence-stratigraphical interpretation of organic facies variations in marine siliciclastic systems: General principles and application to the onshore Kimmeridge Clay formation, UK

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard Tyson


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


The occurrence and stratigraphical distribution of source rock potential in distal fine-grained facies is strongly related to the prevailing palaeo-oxygenation regime, especially during the deposition of the condensed section (CS). The CS will tend to correspond to organic facies B-AB, with good to excellent source-rock potential, only when conditions are dysoxic-anoxic, and organic facies D-CD, with poor source rock potential, when conditions are oxic. The applicability of the Creaney and Passey organic facies model is limited by its assumption that palaeo-oxygenation remains constant within the basinal facies. The CS commonly shows decimetre (Milankovitch)-scale redox cyclicity characterized by total organic carbon (TOC) and organic facies variations whose amplitude increases as sediment accumulation rates decrease. The greater frequency of dysoxic-anoxic conditions in the CS may be related to changes in accommodation space via the relationship between bottom water volume and the rate of deoxygenation, as observed in modern settings. The onshore Kimmeridge Clay diverges from the classic Exxon basin model as it was deposited in an intra-shelf setting where focusing and ponding of clayey sediment resulted in the basinal sections being both thicker and more complete. However, the best source rock intervals still coincide with the maximum flooding surfaces. The long-term Late Jurassic (shallow to deep to shallow) sea level curve appears to influence the mean (oxic to dysoxic-anoxic to oxic) palaeo-oxygenation regime in the basin and the background trend in sediment accumulation rate; it is expressed in a symmetrical increase in TOC to 4-6 wt% from background values of about 1 wt%. The superimposed decimetre- to metre-scale redox cycles appear to be controlled by Milankovitch climatic controls on water mass stratification. The relative spacing of these cyclic organic-rich interbeds decreases during relatively condensed (maximum flooding surface) intervals associated with the short-term sea-level curve, and the interval TOC values also increase and broaden. Intervals deposited during or shortly after lowstands are less organic-rich and have fewer and more widely spaced organic-rich beds. The individual organic-rich beds also appear to be condensed relative to adjacent mudstones; palynofacies and TOC versus hydrogen index data suggest the origin of these beds is due more to cyclically decreased dilution and redox conditions rather than enhanced palaeoproductivity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tyson RV

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geological Society Special Publication

Year: 1996

Issue: 103

Pages: 75-96

Print publication date: 01/01/1996

ISSN (print): 0305-8719

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Geological Society Publishing House


DOI: 10.1144/GSL.SP.1996.103.01.06


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric