Depositional history of the youngest strata of the Sassendalen Group (Bravaisberget Formation, Middle Triassic–Carnian) in southern Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Krzysztof P. Krajewski, Wolfgang Weitschat


The Bravaisberget Formation of southern Spitsbergen (the youngest formation of the Sassendalen Group; Middle Triassic–Carnian) comprises a succession of organic-rich and sandy phosphogenic deposits that developed in a marginal part of the Svalbard basin, in response to a high biological productivity event in the Barents Shelf. The basin margin was bounded on the southwest by the elevated structure of the SÝrkapp-Hornsund High. North of the high, the subsiding shelf bottom stretched from southern to western Spitsbergen. The organic-rich, fine-grained sedimentation that gave rise to the formation of the Passhatten Member extended southward after the Anisian transgression; it reached the topmost part of the SÝrkapp -Hornsund High during the maximum flooding of the basin in the early Ladinian. The sudden appearance of deltaic deposits of the Karentoppen Member directly after the maximum flooding was a consequence of short-lived tectonic activity of the SÝrkapp -Hornsund High and the adjacent land area. Reworking and redistribution of the deltaic sediments during the Ladinian brought about the formation of shallow-marine clastic facies of the Somovbreen Member. Decreasing depositional rates close to the Middle-Late Triassic boundary led to a regional hiatus and the formation of a condensed phosphorite horizon at the top of the Somovbreen Member. The sedimentation of the Bravaisberget Formation ended in the early Carnian. The youngest siliciclastic and spiculitic sediments of the Van Keulenfjorden Member were deposited in southern and western Spitsbergen in shallow- to marginal-marine environments.

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