Stratigraphy of the Late Quaternary Barrier-Lagoon Depositional Systems Along the Coast of China

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Four sedimentary facies assemblages of barrier-lagoon systems along the coast of China can be distinguished. Facies assemblage 1 is underlain by terrestrial layers and overlain by marine layers, with marine influences increasing from the bottom of the sequence to the top. This facies assemblage is formed during transgression and is called the transgressive facies assemblage. Facies assemblage 2 is underlain by marine layers and overlain by terrestrial layers, with a decreasing tendency of marine influences from the bottom of the sequence to the top. This facies assemblage is formed during regression and is called regressive facies assemblage. Facies assemblage 3 is both underlain and overlain by terrestrial layers. This assemblage is formed when the coastline remains stationary, and is referred to as stationary facies assemblage. Facies assemblage 4 is modified from the above assemblage, and involves the overlying of barrier islands upon lagoonal sediments. This type of facies assemblage is formed during local transgression and is caused by changing sediment supplies; it is classified as locally transgressive facies assemblage. Transgressive facies assemblage occurs in the lower part of the postglacial strata in coastal and deltaic plains up to the boundary of maximum postglacial transgression. Regressive facies assemblage occurs in the upper part of Holocene strata between the boundary of maximum postglacial transgression and the present coastal line. Stationary facies assemblage occurs in the narrow zone near the maximum transgressive limit. The coast of China cuts across several tectonic subsidence and uplift belts. More than 90% of the total riverine sediments discharge into the subsidence belts, forming broad coastal plains and thick depositional strata. In such areas, favorable conditions exist for the development and preservation of various kinds of barrier-lagoon systems. In the uplift belts, due to the poor sediment supplies, stationary and locally transgressive facies assemblages tend to be developed. The best sites for the development of barrier-lagoon systems are in the transitional areas between uplift and subsidence belts.

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Sedimentary Geology, v. 72, issues 3-4, p. 189-200