Inicio  /  Andean Geology  /  Vol: 50 Núm: 1 Par: 0 (2023)  /  Artículo

Revision of the La Veteada Formation in its stratotype (La Rioja, Argentina): age, stratigraphy and paleoenvironmental significance

Carlos Oscar Limarino    
Leonardo R. Scarlatta    
Patricia L. Ciccioli    
Sabrina Miyno    
Fanny Bello    
Silvia N. Césari    


The La Veteada Formation, in the Sierra de Famatina (west of Argentina), is one of the few records of Early Triassic age in South America verified by isotopic age and palynological assemblages. This unit is composed of sandstones, mudstones, shales, limestones, and marls, with some levels of gypsum, chert, and tuff levels. In its stratotype, the La Veteada Formation rests on Late Permian red beds of the Talampaya Formation and is covered by Neogene breccias and conglomerates belonging to the Del Crestón Formation. The unit is divided into three associations of sedimentary facies. Facies association A (80 m thick) is a red bed succession composed of mudstone and fine-grained sandstone, together with some levels of chert and gypsum. Facies association B (58 m thick) is greenish-gray to yellowish-gray and comprises limestones, marls, shales, and fine- to coarse-grained sandstones. This facies includes stromatolites and several levels of shales and marls where rich palynological assemblages were recovered. Finally, facies association C (24 m thick) is made up of yellowish-gray marls, mudstones, and sandstones. In this section, stromatolites are missing, thin levels of gypsum appear, and evidence of subaerial exposition as mud cracks and raindrop imprints are frequent at the top of the facies. The lithology, sedimentary structures, and vertical stacking of facies suggest that the La Veteada Formation was deposited in a lacustrine environment, which evolved from a shallow ephemeral playa lake system (facies association A) to a perennial lake, in which carbonate production increased compared to clastic sedimentation (facies association B). Regarding the facies association C, the increase in clastic supply, the missing stromatolites, and the presence of gypsum levels suggest a progressive shallowing of the lake and the likely transition to a palustrine environment. The Early Triassic age of the La Veteada Formation is indicated from two different lines of research. Firstly, a zircon U-Pb age of 249.66±0.11 Ma obtained from a tuff level at the middle part of the facies association A. Secondly, the presence of palynological species identified in other Early Triassic units worldwide. The La Veteada Formation records the filling of the embryonic extensional basins formed at the earliest Triassic. Moreover, this unit shows the evolution of depositional environments after the late Permian massive extinction event.

pp. 127 - 149

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