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Soft-sediment deformation structures interpreted as seismite from the Middle Permian of the southern Sydney Basin, southeastern Australia

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The Middle Permian Wandrawandian Siltstone of the southern Sydney Basin is well exposed along the coastline from Lagoon Head in the south to North Head in the north near Ulladulla in southern New South Wales. The unit is dominated by fossiliferous siltstone and mudstone, with abundant dropstones and minor pebbly sandstone interbeds, and contains an interval of well-preserved and extensive soft-sediment deformation structures. These deformation structures occur mainly in the middle part of the cliff sections and are bounded above and below by undeformed sedimentary units of similar lithology. A wide range of soft-sediment deformation structures have been observed, including cracks, sandstone and sandy mudstone dykes, a possible sand volcano, networks of relatively small and closely connected fissure-like structures, metre-scale complex-type slump folds, flexural stratification, concave-up depressional structures, small-scale normal faults (with displacements usually <1 m), shear planes, and breccias (pseudonodules). The slumps and associated deformations are here collectively interpreted as representing a seismite deposit attributable to penecontemporaneous deformation of soft, hydroplastic sediment layers following a liquefaction triggered by seismic shocks. The timing of the inferred earthquake events appears to correspond to the onset of a major basin-wide tectonism during the Middle Permian.
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Keywords: Australia; Permian; Sydney Basin; Wandranwandian Siltstone; seismite; soft-sediment deformation structures

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne Campus, Burwood, Victoria, Australia,Faculty of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China 2: Faculty of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China 3: Faculty of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China,Institute of Resources & Environment, Henan Polytechnic University, Jiaozuo, China

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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