Architecture of growth basins in a tidally influenced, prodelta to delta-front setting: The Triassic succession of Kvalpynten, East Svalbard

Aleksandra Smyrak-Sikora*, Per Terje Osmundsen, Alvar Braathen, Kei Ogata, Ingrid Anell, Mark J. Mulrooney, Valentin Zuchuat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


World-class examples of fault-controlled growth basins with associated syn-kinematic sedimentary fill are developed in Upper Triassic prodelta to delta-front deposits exposed at Kvalpynten, SW Edgeøya in East Svalbard. They are interpreted to have interacted with north-westerly progradation of a regional delta system. The syn-kinematic successions consist of 4 to 5 coarsening-upward units spanning from offshore mudstones to subtidal heterolithic bars and compound tidal dunes, which were blanketed by regional, post-kinematic sandstone sheets deposited as laterally continuous, subaqueous tidal dune fields. The rate of growth faulting is reflected in the distribution of accommodation, which governs sedimentary architecture and stacking patterns within the coarsening-upward units. Fully compartmentalized basins (12, 200–800 m wide and c. 150 m high grabens and half grabens) are characterized by syn-kinematic sedimentary infill. These grabens and half-grabens are separated by 60–150 m high horsts composed of pro-delta to distal delta-front mudstones. Grabens host tabular tidal dunes (sandwaves), whereas half-grabens bound by listric faults (mainly south-dipping) consist of wedge-shaped, rotated strata with erosive boundaries proximal to the uplifted fault block crests. Heterolithic tidal bars (sand ridges) occur in narrow half-grabens, showing migration oblique to the faults, up the dipslope. Structureless sandstone wedges and localized subaqueous slumps that formed in response to collapse of the block crests were only documented in half-grabens. Late-kinematic deposition during the final stages of faulting occurred in partly compartmentalized basins, filled with variably thick sets of continuous sandstone belts (compound tidal dunes).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-988
Number of pages30
JournalBasin Research
Issue number5
Early online date27 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


The authors would like to acknowledge The University Centre in Svalbard for funding Smyrak‐Sikora's research. Field work was supported by the Trias North Project (grant 234152/E30) financed by the Research Council of Norway and industry partners, Edison Norway, Lundin Norway, RWE Dea Norge, Statoil and Tullow Oil. We acknowledge Simon Buckley and the Virtual Outcrop Geology Group (Uni Research CIPR) for providing academic licenses for LIME. Berit Husteli and Luka Blažić are acknowledged for their contribution to the logs. Snorre Olaussen, Ivar Midtkandal and Harmon Maher are thanked for their comments and discussion on the research. The associate editor in Basin Research Cari Johnson and the reviewers Stefan Back, Luigi Bruno, and anonymous reviewer are acknowledged for their constructive comments to the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Edison Norway
Lundin Norway
RWE Dea Norge
Trias North Project234152/E30
Norges forskningsråd
Tullow Oil
The Research Council of Norway


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