Lower Triassic mixed carbonate and siliciclastic setting with Smithian-Spathian anoxic to dysoxic facies, An Chau basin, northeastern Vietnam

Toshifumi Komatsu, Hajime Naruse, Yasunari Shigeta, Reishi Takashima, Takumi Maekawa, Huyen T. Dang, Tien C. Dinh, Phong D. Nguyen, Hung H. Nguyen, Gengo Tanaka, Masatoshi Sone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


In the An Chau basin in northeastern Vietnam, the Olenekian (Lower Triassic) stage comprises mixed carbonate and siliciclastic shallow marine to marginal basin deposits that extend into the southern Nanpanjiang basin in South China. The upper Lang Son Formation, which is dominated by siliciclastic facies, is composed of storm- and wave-influenced shallow marine and slope deposits. The overlying and interfingering Bac Thuy Formation consists of tidal flat, wave-influenced carbonate platform, slope, and marginal basin plain deposits. The tidal flat deposits are composed mainly of lenticular, wavy-bedded, or thin flat-bedded carbonates containing desiccation cracks and ripples that are indicative of bidirectional paleocurrents. The platform carbonates are characterized by wave ripples, ooids, and abundant marine mollusks and microfossils; the molluscan fossil assemblage primarily contains Smithian ammonoids such as Owenites koeneni. The slope deposits are characterized by limestone breccia and slump beds. The marginal basin plain deposits consist of classical turbidite beds, minor limestone breccia, and hemipelagic mudstone and marl containing the Spathian ammonoids Tirolites and Columbites. The turbidite sets may represent frontal splay environments in the marginal basin plain. These Olenekian carbonate and siliciclastic facies are typical of a transgressive succession.The Smithian-Spathian boundary and the anoxic to dysoxic facies of the latest Smithian are characterized by organic-rich dark gray limestone and mudstone deposits intercalated in the succession of slope to marginal basin plain facies, which are composed mainly of gravity flow and hemipelagic deposits. The organic-rich deposits show no evidence of bioturbation and are characterized by low-diversity fauna. Clastics in the marginal basin plain deposits were apparently supplied from the west; hence, the paleocurrent direction of the siliciclastic gravity flows was approximately eastward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-48
Number of pages21
JournalSedimentary Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar 1


  • Anoxic to dysoxic facies
  • Depositional environment
  • Lower Triassic
  • Nanpanjiang basin
  • Smithian-Spathian boundary
  • Tethys


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