Sedimentology of the Lower Cretaceous at Kikutodden and Keilhaufjellet, southern Spitsbergen: implications for an onshore–offshore link

  • Sten-Andreas Grundvåg Department of Geosciences, University of Tromsø—The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø
  • Snorre Olaussen Department of Arctic Geology, University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen
Keywords: BI: bioturbation index; FA: facies associations; HALIP: High Arctic Large Igneous Province; HCS: hummocky cross-stratification; PS: parasequence; SU: subaerial unconformity


Detailed sedimentological investigations of the Lower Cretaceous succession of southernmost Spitsbergen indicate deposition during a long-term fall and rise in relative sea level. The Rurikfjellet Formation shows an overall regressive development and consists of offshore deposits grading upwards into progradationally stacked shoreface parasequences. The overlying Helvetiafjellet Formation shows a two-fold division reflecting an overall transgressive development. The lower Festningen Member represents a lateral extensive sandstone sheet that was deposited in a braid plain setting with sediment dispersal to the south-east. The unit also includes a lower Barremian subaerial unconformity at its base, demonstrating that uplift and shelf erosion also took place in southern Spitsbergen. Clinoforms observed in seismic data from, amongst others, the Lower Cretaceous in the western Bjarmeland Platform suggest a potential link between the onshore unconformity and the offshore clinoforms. The Festningen Member is capped by a coaly shale unit that represents an expansion surface which marks a change into a high-accommodation distributary fluvial system of the overlying and heterolithic Glitrefjellet Member. The overall transgressive development recorded in the Helvetiafjellet Formation eventually resulted in a marine flooding that eroded and drowned the delta plain depositing an offshore mudstone unit, 5–10 m in thickness, that marks the reestablishment of open marine shelf conditions in the basal part of the Carolinefjellet Formation. The succeeding sand-rich part of the Carolinefjellet Formation contain abundant hummocky cross-stratified sandstones deposited in an inner shelf setting, and therefore represents renewed shoreline progradation onto the shallow subaqueous shelf.


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