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Testing Triassic S2S models using simple grain-size analysis

Outcrop and sub-crop evidence from the Lower Triassic Sherwood Sandstone Group (SSG) suggests a northerly flowing braided river deposited pebble-rich red sandstones through several UK basins. Previous workers assume the sole source of this ‘Budleigh Salterton River System’ to be the Armorican Massif, based on dominantly metaquartzite pebble composition, paleoflow orientations and lithostratigraphy trend. However, a proximal to distal facies trend northwards from an Armorican Massif source should mean pebble-sized clasts decrease in abundance northwards, yet pebble-rich sandstones and conglomerates are seen through several basins with slight variations in composition, perhaps indicating that other topographic high areas adjacent to the river system also provide a source for the pebble clasts via tributary drainage systems. This study conducted fieldwork to collect data specifically surrounding clast inclusions pebble clasts, including clast size, abundance, and orientation, to determine if/where possible tributaries occur. Pebble abundance was plotted against distance using Matlab software, with a simple model inversion used to assess the distance from the source. Our results indicate a three source-model is most likely, suggesting local sources are present and significant contributors to the overall sediment budget. Using spatial distributions of pebble abundance, one tributary was likely located from the Welsh Massif and a second from a potential basin margin fault. These results contrast previous models, which suggest the majority of sediment was sourced from the Armorican Massif, and raise several questions about the distribution of Triassic sediment fairways across the UK.


James Michael Lovell-Kennedy1, Emma Dobromylskyj1, Pete Burgess1
1University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
GeoBerlin 2023
United Kingdom