Carbonate drowning successions of the Bird’s Head, Indonesia

Carbonate drowning successions of the Bird’s Head, Indonesia Drowning unconformities and their related strata are important records of key tectonic and environmental events throughout Earth’s history. In the eastern Bird’s Head region of West Papua, Indonesia, Middle Miocene strata record a drowning unconformity present over much of western New Guinea, including several offshore basins. This study records platform carbonate strata overlain by mixed shallow- and deep-water units containing benthic and planktonic foraminiferal assemblages in several outcrop locations across the eastern Bird’s Head region. These heterolithic beds are interpreted as drowning successions that are terminated by a drowning unconformity. We define a succession exposed along the Anggrisi River in the eastern Bird’s Head as a stratotype for carbonate platform drowning in the Bird’s Head, analogous to similar faunal turnovers identified in its offshore basins. Detailed facies analyses, biostratigraphic dating, and paleoenvironmental interpretations using larger benthic and planktonic foraminifera collected from the Anggrisi River succession help to constrain the drowning event recorded onshore as beginning in the Burdigalian and ending in the Serravallian. The cause of platform drowning in the Bird’s Head is attributed to a reduction in the rates of carbonate accumulation due to the presence of excess nutrients in the depositional environment. Already foundering carbonate platforms due to environmental deterioration were left vulnerable to submergence and eventually succumbed to drowning. Low rates of carbonate production were outpaced by the rate of relative sea-level rise caused by high-amplitude oscillations in global glacio-eustatic sea-level change and/or regional tectonic subsidence. The duration of the drowning event across the entire Bird’s Head region is interpreted to have lasted a duration of approximately 9.5 My, between 18.0 and 8.58 Ma. This has implications when interpreting timings of sedimentary basin fill across western New Guinea and in other basins where carbonate platform drowning is recorded. Facies Springer Journals

Carbonate drowning successions of the Bird’s Head, Indonesia

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Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s)
Earth Sciences; Sedimentology; Biogeosciences; Geochemistry; Paleontology; Ecology
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