Non-marine Paleogene sequences, Salta Group, Northwest Argentina



Deposits of Paleogene age form the culmination of the distensive basin developed from Lower Cretaceous up to Eocene times in North west A rgentina. The rift development shows a regional extension, and includes part of the sedimentation which occurred contemporaneously in Bolivia, Paraguay and Chile. During development of the sag basin, three depositional sequences were laid down. These were the Mealla, Maíz Gordo and Lumbrera Formations, which make up the Santa Bárbara Subgroup of the Salta Group. These units present similar sedimentological characteristics, which gives this period a cyclic arrangement . The sedimentary distribution and the arrangement of facies point to a closed basin, with alluvial sedimentation toward its borders, and the formation of lakes in its central area. Each unit shows a particular pattern of river systems, from perennial sand-gravel bed braided streams to fine-grained meandering streams, and pattern of the lake originated there. It is recognized that each lacustrine basin started to develop under shallow conditions in an arid climate, and then evolved to deeper lakes, which reached stratification of the water mass. The paleontologic content, especially the palinomorphs, records these fluctuating climatic changes, from arid situations to more humid conditions.

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