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The transgressive-regressive cycle of the Romualdo Formation (Araripe Basin): Sedimentary archive of the Early Cretaceous marine ingression in the interior of Northeast Brazil

Custódio, Michele Andriolli, Quaglio, Fernanda, Warren, Lucas Veríssimo, Simões, Marcello Guimarães, Fürsich, Franz Theodor, Perinotto, José Alexandre J., Assine, Mario Luis
Sedimentary geology 2017 v.359 pp. 1-15
basins, Atlantic Ocean, Brazil
Geologic events related to the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean deeply influenced the sedimentary record of the Araripe Basin. As consequence, upper stratigraphic units of the basin record a marine ingression in northeastern Brazil during the late Aptian. The timing and stratigraphic architecture of these units are crucial to understand the paleogeography of Gondwana and how the proto-Atlantic Ocean reached interior NE Brazil during the early Cretaceous. This marine ingression is recorded in the Araripe Basin as the Romualdo Formation, characterized by a transgressive-regressive cycle bounded by two regional unconformities. In the eastern part of the basin, the Romualdo depositional sequence comprises coastal alluvial and tide-dominated deposits followed by marine transgressive facies characterized by two fossil-rich intervals: a lower interval of black shales with fossil-rich carbonate concretions (Konservat-Lagerstätten) and an upper level with mollusk-dominated shell beds and shelly limestones. Following the marine ingression, an incomplete regressive succession of marginal-marine facies records the return of continental environments to the basin. The stratigraphic framework based on the correlation of several sections defines a transgressive-regressive cycle with depositional dip towards southeast, decreasing in thickness towards northwest, and with source areas located at the northern side of the basin. The facies-cycle wedge-geometry, together with paleocurrent data, indicates a coastal onlap towards NNW. Therefore, contrary to several paleogeographic scenarios previously proposed, the marine ingression would have reached the western parts of the Araripe Basin from the SSE.