Depositional environment of the lower cretaceous (upper Albian) Winton Formation at Isisford, central-west Queensland, Australia, inferred from sandstone concretions

Syme, Caitlin E., Welsh, Kevin J., Roberts, Eric M., and Salisbury, Steven W. (2016) Depositional environment of the lower cretaceous (upper Albian) Winton Formation at Isisford, central-west Queensland, Australia, inferred from sandstone concretions. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 86 (9). pp. 1067-1082.

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Abstract

Numerous vertebrate and plant fossils have been found in ex-situ sandstone concretions near Isisford in central-west Queensland since the mid-1990s. These concretions are found in the Lower Cretaceous portion (upper Albian, 100.5-102.2 Ma) of the Winton Formation. The lower most Winton Formation is thought to have formed in a fluvial channel or flood-basin setting proximal to the Eromanga Sea, but due to the scarcity of good exposures, the local depositional environment at Isisford has not been ascertained. Minimal compression of vertebrate and plant fossils, a lack of grain suturing, predominantly cement-supported fabric, and fractures running through calcite cement, as well as fossil bone and framework grains, indicates that concretions formed during early diagenesis (pre-compactional or syndepositional). Calcite stable-isotope δ¹⁸O(VPDB) values range from -12.25 to -4%₀, indicating mixed marine and meteoric pore waters, and δ¹³C(VPDB) values range from -5.3 to 4.1%₀, indicative of both sulfate reduction and methanogenesis of organic material (including decaying vertebrate soft tissues) in the burial environment. The mixed marine and freshwater signature suggests a marginal marine setting, possibly deltaic or estuarine, connected to the regressive epicontinental Eromanga Seaway at around 102-100 Ma. This is not inconsistent with the lithology from nearby cores, coupled with Isisford fossil-vertebrate ecology (personal observation). Our research demonstrates the utility of investigating ex-situ concretions to refine paleoenvironments at localities where little or no outcrop is available and traditional facies analysis is impractical.

Item ID: 46389
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1938-3681
Funders: Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), Australian Research Council (ARC), University of Queensland (UQ), Longreach Regional Council (LRC)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP0347332, ARC LP0776851
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2016 07:46
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040310 Sedimentology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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