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Publication Detail
Evolution of a cratonic basin: Insights from the stratal architecture and provenance history of the Parnaíba Basin
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Menzies LA, Carter A, Macdonald DIM
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    157, 179
  • Volume:
  • Status:
  • Book title:
    Geological Society Special Publication
© 2018 The Author(s). The processes that govern formation and development of cratonic basins are poorly understood, both individually and as a class. The cratonic Silurian-Jurassic Parnaíba Basin in NE Brazil is less well-studied than North American examples such as Williston, Illinois and Michigan but offers an opportunity to study stratal architecture both in outcrop and the subsurface. Published stratigraphic compilations emphasize basin-wide unconformities separating layer-cake, basin-wide packages; analysis of geological maps indicates this interpretation is over-simplified, with at least 12 local unconformities, concentrated along the SW basin margin. Comparison of basin-margin and intrabasinal well-correlation panels shows that unconformities are more common in marginal areas, so the current exposure margins may have some validity as near-original margins. Palaeocurrents suggest a consistent SW-NE transport direction for the Serra Grande and lower Canindé groups. Supporting heavy mineral analysis from Silurian-Carboniferous strata on the SW and NE basin margins show that assemblages are dominated by ultra-stable zircon, tourmaline and rutile with minor amounts of staurolite, especially in the SW and older units. Tourmaline varietal results are remarkably consistent across the basin. U-Pb age spectra from detrital zircons are dominated by Neoproterozoic grains, with subsidiary Meso-Paleoproterozoic provenance. We infer that the source terrane was a medium-grade regionally metamorphosed mica schist, probably the Araguaia Fold Belt. These results are indicative of a large sediment routing system feeding material across an evolving crustal sag, analogous to observations from North American cratonic basins; this suggests that cratonic basins may not have strongly shaped or controlled the routing system.
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