Late Quaternary sedimentation and palaeohydrology in the Acre foreland basin, SW Amazonia
B.I. Kronberg, P.W. Fralick and R.E. Benchimol
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 10, No 3, September 1998 pp. 311 - 323
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.05Mb )
Our study explores the geohydraulic history of the Acre retroarc foreland basin by gathering both spatial and temporal information from the upper 400 m of sediments. We also inquire into controls on sediment accommodation space as well as on stream vs. lacustrine domination. The Acre basin is located in south-west Amazonia, proximal to the Serra do Divisor which demarcates the eastern edge of the Andean fold–thrust belt. Radiocarbon ages from a range of materials indicate that the upper 50–250 m of the Solimôes Formation accumulated during the past 50 000 years. Both surficial and drill-core sediment records show lacustrine–fluvial transitions throughout the Late Quaternary. These shifts in depositional environments are in response to episodic changes in hydrological conditions as well as to geodynamic activity, such as subsidence. Juxtaposition of lacustrine and fluvial systems in the vertical Acre basin record mimics the regional-scale trends in the modern, upper and middle Solimôes–Amazon floodplains. In the Acre basin record lacustrine successions are characterized by increasing calcium contents up-section. This is also manifested, in the upper portions of lacustrine sequences outcropping at the surface, as alternating clastic and calcareous layers. The up-section increase in carbonate content is related to increasing salinities brought about by drier hydrodynamic conditions. Desiccation cracks are typically infilled with gypsum as are cavities of fossils in bone-beds. The latter represent isolated ponds in which the original fauna died as aridity intensified and waters became increasingly saline. Modern trunk river systems in the Acre basin flow from south-west to north-east with tributaries entering from the south-west, suggesting the influence of a domino-style, basement, fault regime. Fault or, at least, fracture control on stream channels is also suggested throughout the greater Amazon basin in the orthogonal dispositions and asymmetric terrace systems of trunk rivers as well as of major tributaries.