STRATIGRAPHY AND DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENTS OF THE SANTA CRUZ FORMATION (EARLY-MIDDLE MIOCENE) ALONG THE RÍO SANTA CRUZ, SOUTHERN PATAGONIA, ARGENTINA

José Ignacio Cuitiño, Juan Carlos Fernicola, María Sol Raigemborn, Verónica Krapovickas

Resumen


Abstract. The Santa Cruz Formation is an Early–Middle Miocene terrestrial sedimentary succession widely distributed in southern Patagonia. Particularly, it is exposed along the southern margin of the Río Santa Cruz valley where the sedimentological and stratigraphical features are described for three localities. From east to west these localities are: Barrancas Blancas, Segundas Barrancas Blancas and Yaten Huageno. The facies analysis permits us to identify three associations, representing deposition in 1) low-energy floodplains; 2) crevasse splays and sheet floods; and 3) fluvial channels. The three localities are chronologically equivalent and represent accumulation in an aggradational low- gradient fluvial system that drained towards the east and northeast from the Patagonian Andes to the Atlantic sea. Abundant pedogenic features and some trace fossils are consistent with a temperate subhumid climate and in part, a grassland environment.

Key words. Burdigalian. Sedimentology. Fluvial system. Paleosol. Austral Basin. 

Resumen. ESTRATIGRAFÍA Y AMBIENTES DE SEDIMENTACIÓN DE LA FORMACIÓN SANTA CRUZ (MIOCENO TEMPRANO–MEDIO) EN EL RÍO SANTA CRUZ, PATAGONIA AUSTRAL, ARGENTINA. La Formación Santa Cruz consiste en una sucesión de sedimentos continentales del Mioceno Temprano–Medio que se encuentran ampliamente distribuidos en la Patagonia austral. Se describen los atributos sedimentológicos y estratigráficos de tres localidades a lo largo del Río Santa Cruz. De este a oeste estas localidades son: Barrancas Blancas, Segundas Barrancas Blancas y Yaten Huageno. El análisis de facies permitió definir tres Asociaciones que representan acumulación en 1) planicies de inundación; 2) lóbulos de desbordamiento y crecidas en manto; y 3) canales fluviales. Las tres localidades son cronológicamente equivalentes y representan acumulación en un sistema fluvial de bajo gradiente con alta agradación, el cual drenaba hacia el este y noreste desde los Andes Patagónicos hasta la plataforma. Los rasgos de los paleosuelos, más algunas trazas fósiles reconocidas, sugieren un clima templado subhúmedo y en parte, una planicie herbácea.

Palabras clave. Burdigaliense. Sedimentología. Sistema fluvial. Paleosuelo. Cuenca Austral.


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