Braided rivers, lakes and sabkhas of the upper Triassic Cifuncho formation, Atacama region, Chile

M. Suárez, C. M. Bell

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16 Citations (Scopus)


A 1,000-m-thickness of Upper Triassic (to possibly Hettangian) sediments of the Cifuncho Formation are exposed in the coastal Cordillera of the Atacama Region, Chile. These coarse-grained clastic terrigenous strata are interpreted as the deposits of braided rivers, ephemeral lakes, sabkhas and volcaniclastic alluvial fans. They include conglomerates, pebbly sandstones, fine to medium-grained sandstones and thin, finely-laminated limestones. Halite hopper-casts are abundant in sandstones near the top of the section. Approximately 90% of the clastic detritus was derived from an upper Paleozoic metasedimentary accretionary complex located to the west. Andesitic debris flow and pyroclastic flow deposits occur near the base of the sequence. Isolated tuff intercalations and an ignimbritic lava flow occur higher in the section. The great thickness of coarse-grained and ill-sorted clastic sediments suggests deposition in an actively subsiding basin, probably a graben, adjacent to rising highlands. Overlying Hettangian-Sinemurian marine sediments were deposited by a transgression which occurred during a world-wide lowstand. This suggests that thermal subsidence followed the Triassic rifting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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