Calcretes, fluviolacustrine sediments and subsidence patterns in Permo-Triassic salt-walled minibasins of the south Urals, Russia

Andrew J. Newell, Michael J. Benton, Timothy Kearsey, Graeme Taylor, Richard J. Twitchett, Valentin P. Tverdokhlebov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The south Uralian foreland basin forms part of the giant, yet sparsely documented, PreCaspian salt tectonic province. The basin can potentially add much to the understanding of fluviolacustrine sedimentation within salt-walled minibasins, where the literature has been highly reliant on only a few examples (such as the Paradox Basin of Utah). This paper describes the Late Permian terrestrial fill of the Kulchumovo salt minibasin near Orenburg in the south Urals in which sediments were deposited in a range of channel, overbank and lacustrine environments. Palaeomagnetic stratigraphy shows that, during the Late Permian, the basin had a relatively slow and uniform subsidence pattern with widespread pedogenesis and calcrete development. Angular unconformities or halokinetic sequence boundaries cannot be recognized within the relatively fine-grained fill, and stratigraphic and spatial variations in facies are therefore critical to understanding the subsidence history of the salt minibasin. Coarse-grained channel belts show evidence for lateral relocation within the minibasin while the development of a thick stack of calcrete hardpans indicates that opposing parts of the minibasin became largely inactive for prolonged periods (possibly in the order of one million years). The regular vertical stacking of calcrete hardpans within floodplain mudstones provides further evidence that halokinetic minibasin growth is inherently episodic and cyclical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1659-1676
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

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