Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Latin American journal of sedimentology and basin analysis]]> http://www.scielo.org.ar/rss.php?pid=1851-497920060001&lang=es vol. 13 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.ar/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.ar <![CDATA[Depositional environments and stratigraphy of the Upper Cambrian-lower Ordovician Santa Rosita formation at the Alfarcito area, Cordillera Oriental, Argentina: integration of biostratigraphic data within a sequence stratigraphic framework]]> http://www.scielo.org.ar/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1851-49792006000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The Upper Cambrian-Tremadocian rocks exposed in the Alfarcito area of Cordillera Oriental, northwest Argentina reveal a series of transgressive-regressive cycles punctuated by incision of fluvio-estuarine valleys. An integrated sedimentologic, biostratigraphic and sequence stratigraphic study permits characterization of the sedimentary facies and stratal stacking patterns, and a revision of the stratigraphic framework of this succession. The Upper Cambrian-Tremadocian succession is included within the existing Santa Rosita Formation, which is formally subdivided here into six units, the Tilcara, Casa Colorada, Pico de Halcón, Alfarcito, Rupasca and Humacha members. This scheme recognizes the internal complexities of the formation, in that the Tilcara and Pico de Halcón members record sedimentation in areally-restricted incised valleys and contain structures indicative of tidal dominance, whereas the Casa Colorada, Alfarcito and Rupasca members typify wave-dominated open-marine environments, where background suspension-fallout was punctuated by oscillatory flows during storms. The Tilcara Member is incised into the underlying Mesón Group. The Casa Colorada Member reflects a basinwide Late Cambrian transgression and subsequent progradation and consists of lower to upper offshore deposits. The Pico de Halcón Member is incised into the Casa Colorada Member. The Alfarcito Member is divided into three distinctly upward-coarsening and-thickening intervals. The sandstone-dominated intervals are composed of lower to middle shoreface deposits with minor amounts of offshore transition and upper shoreface deposits. The heterolithic, fine-grained intervals record more distal deposition, ranging from the lower offshore to the offshore transition. The Rupasca Member is a dominantly fine-grained unit that records a major late early to early late Tremadocian transgression. The lower interval of this member consists of lower offshore to offshore-transition deposits, while the upper part is made up of shelf to lower offshore deposits. The Humacha Member is not exposed in the study area. The importance of integrating biostratigraphy within a sedimentologic and sequence-stratigraphic framework is underscored here, in that it enables us to construct a more accurate stratigraphic framework which permits a clear understanding of the sedimentary dynamics of this system.<hr/>El análisis de las rocas del Cámbrico Superior-Tremadociano aflorantes en el área de Alfarcito, Cordillera Oriental, noroeste de Argentina, revela una serie de ciclos transgresivos-regresivos e incisiones de valles fluvio-estuarinos. Un estudio sedimentológico, bioestratigráfico y estratigráfico-secuencial integrado proporciona información para caracterizar las facies sedimentarias, analizar los patrones de apilamiento estratal y revisar el marco estratigráfico de estas sucesiones. La sucesión cámbrica-tremadociana es incluida en la Formación Santa Rosita, la cual es formalmente subdividida en seis miembros, Tilcara, Casa Colorada, Pico de Halcón, Alfarcito, Rupasca y Humacha. De este modo, este esquema retiene para el área de Alfarcito una unidad estratigráfica ampliamente aceptada como la Formación Santa Rosita y al mismo tiempo reconoce las complejidades internas de la misma, subdividiéndola en miembros. Los miembros Tilcara y Pico de Halcón registran depositación en valles incisos restringidos arealmente y contienen estructuras indicadoras de dominio mareal. Por el contrario, los miembros Casa Colorada, Alfarcito y Rupasca tipifican sedimentación en ambientes marinos abiertos dominados por el oleaje, donde la sedimentación por decantación alternó con flujos oscilatorios generados durante tormentas. El Miembro Tilcara está inciso en el subyacente Grupo Mesón. El Miembro Casa Colorada refleja una transgresión cámbrica tardía a escala de cuenca y la subsecuente progradación. En el área de estudio, esta unidad está representada por depósitos de offshore inferior a transición a offshore. El Miembro Pico de Halcón está inciso sobre el Miembro Casa Colorada. El Miembro Alfarcito está dividido en tres intervalos muy distintivos grano y estratocrecientes. Los intervalos arenosos están dominados por depósitos de shoreface inferior a medio con proporciones menores de depósitos de transición a offshore y shoreface superior. Los depósitos de los intervalos heterolíticos de grano fino registran depositación en un ambiente más distal, desde el offshore inferior a la transición al offshore. El Miembro Rupasca es una unidad dominantemente de grano fino, que registra una transgresión mayor de edad tremadociana temprana tardía a tardía temprana. El intervalo inferior del Miembro Rupasca consiste en depósitos de offshore inferior a transición a offshore, mientras que el intervalo superior consiste en depósitos de plataforma a offshore inferior. El Miembro Humacha no se encuentra expuesto en el área. La importancia de integrar estudios bioestratigráficos dentro de un marco sedimentológico y estratigráfico-secuencial es resaltada en este estudio. Este enfoque es esencial para construir un marco estratigráfico y correlaciones más precisas que ayuden a clarificar la nomenclatura estratigráfica de la cuenca. <![CDATA[Morfodinámica de playas del sudeste de la provincia de Buenos Aires (1983 a 2004)]]> http://www.scielo.org.ar/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1851-49792006000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es En las costas del sudeste de Buenos Aires hay dos relieves geomorfológicos de importancia, las playas arenosas bajas con grandes campos de médanos, y las playas de bolsillo ubicadas entre acantilados de loess u ortocuarcitas. Al Norte y Sur de la ciudad de Mar del Plata, hay extensos campos de médanos que conforman la Barrera Oriental y Austral. La conformación de estas costas es relativamente moderna ya que se han formado con posterioridad a la fluctuación holocena del nivel del mar. El objetivo del presente estudio se centró en analizar los cambios morfológicos naturales y artificiales de las playas de los partidos de Pinamar, Villa Gesell, Mar Chiquita, General Pueyrredón, General Alvarado, Lobería y Necochea, mediante la descripción y discusión de resultados obtenidos en relevamientos de playa realizados desde 1983 al 2004, con especial énfasis en la dinámica sedimentaria de sus playas y las características físicas naturales o introducidas por el hombre, como por ejemplo construcción de obras de defensa o movimiento de arenas. Los relevamientos se ejecutaron en playas con diferente orientación, dinámica, cantidad y calidad de sedimento, así como distinto grado de alteración producido por las actividades humanas. Los perfiles permitieron analizar la magnitud y velocidad de los cambios morfológicos, al tiempo que se estudiaron las variaciones texturales de las distintas zonas de la playa, reconociendo su variabilidad y la significación estadística de la misma. El trabajo se basó en la comparación de relevamientos planialtimétricos de las playas según métodos convencionales, en la evaluación de las características físicas de las olas que llegan a ellas para alcanzar una clasificación morfodinámica basada en las ecuaciones del número de Dean, parámetro W, el número de Battjes y el parámetro de Guza e Inman. Las texturas se analizaron de muestreos superficiales de sedimentos de la playa distal y de playa frontal mediante los parámetros de Folk y Ward. También fueron evaluadas las pendientes de las playas. En la discusión se evaluó la morfodinámica de playas, sus texturas, la respuesta de las playas mixtas de arena/grava, los ciclos estacionales, tormentas sudestadas y eventos El Niño, así como el efecto de las dorsales de arena (sand ridges) y la refracción. También se evalúa la actividad antrópica, con la construcción de espigones, el relleno artificial, las construcciones sobre la playa, los pluviales, la fijación de médanos y las actividades extractivas. Las conclusiones sostienen la idea de cuatro procesos que interactúan en las modificaciones morfodinámicas de las playas analizadas como son los ciclos estacionales invierno/verano, los ciclos episódicos ligados a períodos tormentosos y de inundaciones, los efectos antrópicos, y la presencia de bancos arenosos submareales que modifican el ángulo de incidencia de las olas produciendo efectos locales.<hr/>Along the coast of the Southeastern Buenos Aires Province (Fig. 1), there are two important geomorphologic relieves: low sandy beaches with dune fields, and pocket beaches located between loessic or quarcitic cliffs. To the North and South of Mar del Plata City, extense dune fields conform the Eastern and Southern barriers. These dune fields are very modern, since they have been formed as consequence of a Holocene sea-level fluctuation (Schnack et al., 1982; Violante and Parker 1993; Isla, 1997). The objective of the study was to analyse the natural and artificial morphological changes of the beaches of Pinamar, Villa Gesell, Mar Chiquita, General Pueyrredón, General Alvarado, Lobería and Necochea counties, and the description and discussion of results obtained from 1983 to 2004. Special emphasis was made to the sedimentary dynamics of these beaches and the changes induced by man-made structures (groynes fields) and sand mining. The beaches have different orientation, dynamics, grain size, as well as different human alteration degree. The work was based on the comparison of beach profiles according to conventional methods (Fox and Davis, 1978; Isla, 1992; Isla et al., 1994; Bértola, 2001), the evaluation of the morphological classification based on Dean's number (Dean, 1973), Omega parameter (Masselink and Short, 1993), Battje´s number (Short, 1996), and the parameter of Guza and Inman (1975). Surface grain sizes were analysed using the parameters of Folk and Ward (1957) and evaluating beach slope changes. North Area Morphology: These are oceanic beaches, with average width of 72 m., The berm remains stabilised or it is in setback. Berm width increases at the touristic area in Mar de las Pampas. Villa Gesell beaches (Spa Los Históricos) suffered significant variations. In the pristine areas, there is presence of dunes after the backshore, although many of them are forested. Balance: In this area, there are no structures or estuaries that could affect the littoral drift. The Pinamar-Cariló sector has recorded an important accumulation (27,580 m³) diminishing toward the North of the urban area. The beach of Villa Gesell has also registered accumulation (18,200 m³), except in certain areas of the centre of the urban area, where erosion existed. Toward the South of Mar de las Pampas, the trend is depositional again. Grain sizes: The sediments of the backshore have increased their size up to 1994 and begin stable since 2000. In the foreshore, the mean (phi) has a reduction tendency. It diminished from 1994 to 1996 where it stops then increases very slowly. In some samples of Mar de las Pampas and Mar Azul, bioclastic composition dominates that would indicate a source of contribution from the South that coincides with old places of extraction of sands for construction. In addition, to the South of Villa Gesell, the erosion of dunes exhumes old beach crests or non-operative overwash composed by sand with shells and gravels (Isla, 1998). Slopes: Slope increases from South to North, with anomalous values in the centre of Pinamar. Temporarily, the general slopes increase their value in the time since 1998. Central Area Morphology: General Pueyrredón beaches change from North to South in: a) beaches among closed groynes, b) artificially refilled beaches, c) oceanic open beaches, and d) beaches at the foot of cliffs; in Miramar there are also beaches among groynes, but these with more spacing to each other (e). Beaches between groynes characterise La Perla area, with average widths of 64 m. Beach fills were conducted from Playa Popular to Playa Grande, their widths are of 107 m. The oceanic beaches extending from Mar del Plata Harbour to the Punta Mogotes Lighthouse and have 102 m. Beaches at the foot of cliffs (Costa Hermosa to Los Acantilados) are narrow, about 60 m. Those beaches between groynes from Chapadmalal to Miramar are 75 m. The beaches oriented to the Southeast have higher dynamics (Alfar, Chapadmalal and Miramar) with volumetric variations of the order of several thousands of cubic meters. Some have antrophic action that modifies totally and in a few days their morphology, for what we should absorb of the seasonal effects of erosion in winter and accumulation in the analysis of the results in spring. To the end of winter, beaches recover. Balance: The beaches of General Pueyrredón and Miramar are mixed and complex. There are pocket beaches, and beaches with abrasion plains; there is an important component of constructions of coastal defences. Mar del Plata beaches recorded an erosive trend (-2.266 m³) excluding the refilled volumes of 1998. This demonstrates the natural eroded tendency in the beaches without artificial feeding. Toward the North of the urban area of Mar del Plata there is accumulation, in their Central section there is erosion and toward the South of the urbanisation (Punta Mogotes Lighthouse) there is accumulation again. To the South -cliff areas-, erosion dominates. As expected, the highest variability was recorded at the refilled beaches, but there are significant dynamics at other of them (Acevedo, Spa Camping El Faro and Los Acantilados). General Alvarado beaches registered an important accumulation of 28.000 m³ of sand, of which 20% belongs to the urban coastline of Miramar (Spa HR). Grain sizes: In these beaches, the sediments have gone increasing the mean from 1998. The beaches increased the size of their sands toward the North, with fine grains in the refilled beaches and for the effect of tombolo in Los Pinos Beach (Alfar). In some samples of Chapadmalal, coarse grains of basaltic and andesitic composition have been detected in the bottom of the backshore, and pebbles of loess in the top of the backshore. This would indicate a particular dynamics that accumulates rolling stones transported by coastal drift from the South, the first one presumably of patagonic pebbles and of eroded material of the cliff bordering, in the second. Slopes: Beach slopes decrease from North to South, with abrupt peaks in the centre of the urban areas of Mar del Plata. The extreme values in the slopes were observed in the resort places from the downtown. Temporarily, the variations in the slopes were very important; in general a tendency was appreciated to increase the slope of the general beach along the time (except in beaches like Alfonsina, Las Dunas and Los Acantilados). South Area Morphology: The beaches of this area are open and with Loess cliffs. From Miramar to Mar del Sur beach widths extend to 79 m, and from Mar del Sur to Necochea they are narrower (68 m). Touristic activities diminish southwards. The beaches with more dynamics are those that possess groynes, cliffs and abrasion plains, as long as the beach open of Cruz del Moro has had smaller volumetric variations. Some beaches have suffered antrophic action (Costa Bonita or Cruz del Moro) that modified their morphology. Balance: They are heterogeneous beaches, with cliffs and engineering works in Mar del Sur and Costa Bonita, and open beaches in Cruz del Moro and Arenas Verdes. It begins to be important the action of the streams that in certain cases obstruct the longshore drift or they are plugged by effect of the same one. In General Alvarado accumulation is appreciated toward the North and South of the urban area of Miramar, with an important accumulation in Mar del Sur. Lobería presents erosion in its entire coast (-14.746 m³) with more loss in its Eastern sector. Costa Bonita beaches have more dynamics and Cruz del Moro suffer less variability. In both municipalities, erosion cycles and accumulation were observed along the year in correspondence to seasonal variations. Grain sizes: In the beaches of this area, an increase of the value of the mean is appreciated from 1995. In the backshore, grain size diminishes toward the South and in the foreshore, increase toward the South. Slopes: Slopes increase from North to South. With relationship to the foreshore, the slopes are had increasing through the time and all the beaches have had important variations equally. In the discussion, morphodynamics and grain sizes were evaluated, considering specially the dynamics of beaches composed of sand and gravel. The human impact was evaluated in relation to groin construction, nourishment works, buildings at the beach, dune afforestation and sand mining. The conclusions sustain the idea of four interaction processes: 1) seasonal cycles, 2) storms and flood effects, 3) human impact, 4) presence of sand ridges that modify the angle of incidence of the waves producing local effects. The refilled beaches have passed of being reflective to dissipative; as it has only modified slopes and grain size (but not climate of waves), there is still erosive. Erosive beaches have higher slopes (more than 4%). The increase of the slope toward the North indicates more narrow beaches with smaller areas of dry sand. Southeastern beaches are therefore more vulnerable to storm effects. The differential refraction of the waves in the Southeast, generates the continuous energy concentration in certain places of the coast (for example the cliffs in Mar del Plata). Induced for sand ridges there is convergence -erosion- and divergence -sedimentation- of orthogonal separated by few kilometres of distance. The protection of the coast cannot be considered as an individual responsibility, and for it, although local solutions exist, they don't work to regional scale; therefore, the coastal defence should be a cooperative effort among all the coastal municipalities. <![CDATA[Clay Minerals From The Upper Aptian Codó Formation, Grajaú Basin, Northeastern Brazil]]> http://www.scielo.org.ar/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1851-49792006000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es A Formação Codó, exposta no leste e sul da Bacia de Grajaú, consiste em sistemas deposicionais dos tipos lacustre e sabkha-salt pan, respectivamente, cujos depósitos incluem evaporito, folhelho negro betuminoso, folhelho cinza-esverdeado e calcário organizados em ciclos de arrasamento ascendente. Neste trabalho, foram realizadas análises de difração de raios-X, microscopia óptica e microscopia eletrônica de varredura em rochas predominantemente argilosas desta unidade, objetivando a caracterização da assembléia de argilominerais e o registro de sua variabilidade vertical ao longo dos ciclos deposicionais, a fim de discutir sua origem e verificar sua aplicabilidade como indicadores paleoclimático e paleoambiental. Os resultados indicam uma assembléia de argilominerais dominada por esmectita, seguida por ilita, caulinita e interestratificados irregulares ilita/esmectita. A esmectita é, em sua maioria, detrítica e caracterizada por palhetas crenuladas e/ou esgarçadas dispostas em arranjo paralelo ou caótico, sendo dominantes na porção inferior dos ciclos deposicionais. Quando pura, a esmectita mostra cristalinidade boa, tendo sido classificada como dioctaédrica e pertencente à espécie montmorillonita. Para o topo dos ciclos de arrasamento ascendente, ocorre aumento relativo de caulinita e ilita, estas com hábitos que revelam, pelo menos em parte, contribuição autigênica. A constatação de origem detrítica para o maior volume de argilominerais presentes nos depósitos estudados tornou possível sua utilização com propósitos de interpretação paleoambiental e paleoclimática. De forma geral, o domínio de esmectitas detríticas revela deposição a partir de suspensões em praticamente toda a extensão do sistema deposicional, sendo condizente com ambientes calmos, típicos de sistemas lacustres e complexos de sabkha-salt pan, como proposto para as áreas de estudo através de dados faciológicos. O domínio de argilas revela bacia com topografia, no geral, plana, sendo a espécie montmorillonita típica de áreas continentais. Além disto, mesmo tendo sido constatada origem autigênica para a caulinita e ilita, a coincidência sistemática de suas maiores ocorrências com o topo dos ciclos de arrasamento ascendente, sugere formação condicionada a mudanças paleoambientais específicas. Assim, propõe-se um modelo onde esmectitas detríticas teriam sido introduzidas em grande volume para áreas deprimidas durante períodos de nível de base elevado. À medida que o influxo e, conseqüentemente, o nível de base diminuiu, reduzindo a lâmina d´água, houve alternância de sedimentação clástica e química sob condições alternadamente subaquosas e subaéreas. A formação de caulinita e ilita como produto de substituição da esmectita detrítica pode ter ocorrido por influência de freqüentes exposições subaéreas e pedogênese. Estudos futuros são ainda necessários para melhor entender a origem destes minerais autigênicos. Porém, a ocorrência de ambos minerais em mesmo horizonte estratigráfico associado com fácies lacustres marginais do topo dos ciclos de arrasamento ascendente da área de estudo sugere possível influência climática. Desta forma, a formação da ilita ocorreria sob condições de maior evaporação (períodos mais secos), enquanto que a caulinita teria se formado sob condições de maior lixiviação por águas freáticas com pH baixo (períodos mais úmidos). O domínio de esmectita detrítica do tipo montmorillonita é condizente com condições de lixiviação e intemperismo intermediários em solos temperados com boa drenagem e pH neutro ou solos pobremente drenados e alcalinos de zonas áridas. Estas características, aliadas à vasta ocorrência de evaporitos na região estudada, confirmam tendência de clima quente e semi-árido durante o Neoaptiano da Bacia de Grajaú.<hr/>This work combines facies, stratigraphy, X-ray diffraction, SEM and petrographic analyses in order to investigate argillaceous rocks of the Codó Formation exposed in the Codó and Grajaú areas, northeastern Brazil (Fig. 1). The main goal is to characterize the clay mineral assemblage and record its variability along the depositional cycles in the attempt to discuss its origin and test its applicability as paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental proxy indicators. The Codó Formation records the Upper Aptian deposition of the Grajaú Basin, a tectonically subsiding structure originated during the early stages of rifting that culminated with the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean along the Equatorial Brazilian Margin (Aranha et al., 1990). This basin has been interpreted as a unique structure consisting of an intracontinental semi-graben, which was formed by combination of pure shear stress and strike-slip deformation (Góes and Rossetti, 2001). The sedimentary successions of this basin include three depositional sequences, designated as S1, S2 and S3 (Rossetti, 2001; Fig. 2), with the first including the Codó Formation studied herein. The Codó Formation records a depositional system dominated by closed and hypersaline lakes and sabkhasalt pan complex (Paz, 2000; Paz & Rossetti, 2001; Paz & Rossetti, 2005a). In the Codó area, these deposits encompass a 25 m-thick prograding lacustrine succession arranged as shallowing-upward cycles that are attributed to central, transitional, and marginal lake facies associations. Central lake deposits include mostly evaporites and bituminous black shales. Transitional lake deposits consist of green to grey shales interbedded with limestones (lime-mudstone, laminated to massive peloidal wackestone to packstone and sparstone) formed in more oxygenated waters relative to the central lake deposits. Marginal lake deposits include massive and indurated pelite with brownish-red colours, fenestral calcarenite of calcite grains, ostracodal wackestone/ grainstone, pisoidal packstone, rhythmite of ostracodal wackestone/grainstone, shale and microbial mats. These deposits show an abundance of features (i.e., paleosols, karstic features, fenestrae, meteoric cements, vadose pisoids) that are typically developed under exposure to subaerial conditions and/or meteoric waters. In the Grajaú area, evaporites dominate over the other facies, being represented by laminated gypsum and gypsare-nite/gypsrudite. The muddy lithofacies used in this study included black shale with high organic matter content, green to grey shale with low organic matter content, lime-mud-stone, rhythmite of carbonate and shale, and massive pelite. The black shales and the green to grey shales show a clay mineral assemblage composed of smectite (Fig. 3a and b) and, subordinately, illite (Fig. 3b), kaolinite (Fig. 3c) and irregularly interstratified illitesmectite. The smectite is, in general, detrital in nature, being characterized by crenulated flakes with parallel or chaotic arrangements (Figs. 3a and b). The smectite, when pure, exhibits high crystallinity and has been classified as dioctaedral montmorillonite. Authigenic smectite is locally found and arranged as crystals averaging 2 μm that show a honey-comb morphology, which usually drape ostracode shells in rhythmites. Kaolinite occurs as pseudohexagonal and equidimensional crystals averaging 1 μm in diameter that replaces smectite, and as booklets averaging 8 μm that fill pores (Fig. 3c). Its occurrence is substantially increased in marginal lake deposits, more specifically in the massive pelite facies. Illite occurs as hair-like crystals (Fig. 3b, arrows) in transitional lake deposits as replacement of smectite. However, it is possible that part of this mineral is detrital; in this case, it is characterized by a morphology in flakes that can hardly be differentiated from detrital smectites. The lime-mudstone consists of calcite, sulphates, quartz grains and clay minerals similar to the ones found in the other sedimentary facies analysed in this study (Fig. 3d). The rhythmite of black shale/mudstone, typical of the marginal lake facies association, consists of parallel and laterally continuous laminae of microbial mats and/or green-grey shale that alternate with mudstone to ostracodal packstone/grainstone that locally display ostracod shells arranged parallel to bedding (Fig. 3e and f). The dominant clay mineral in this facies is also smectite, which occurs either as parallel flakes with ragged margins or as honeycomb crystals (Fig. 3g). The massive pelite (Fig. 3h, i), typical of marginal lake deposits, is composed by calcite, clay minerals and quartz grains (Fig. 3h). The clay minerals include smectite flakes with ragged margins, as well as hairy illite and booklets of kaolinites that are up to 12 μm of length (Fig. 3i). Analysis of the X-ray diffractograms revealed that mixed illite/smectite interlayers are also present in the deposits characterized above (Fig. 4). The distribution of smectite and illite/smectite throughout the studied profiles shows an upward decrease relative to the amount of kaolinite and illite (Figs. 5 and 6). This tendency was also observed in some individual shallowing-upward cycles. Thus, central and transitional lacustrine deposits, located at the base of the successions, exhibit relatively increased amounts of smectite relative to kaolinite and illite, while the transitional and marginal deposits at the top show an inverse behavior. The large volume of detrital clay minerals allowed their use for discussing depositional paleoenvironment and paleoclimate. The dominance of detrital smectites revealed deposition from suspensions throughout the depositional setting, supporting low energy flows, typical of lacustrine and sabkha-salt pan complex, as proposed for the study area with basis on facies analysis. The presence of clays as the only clastics reveals a basin located in a region with low topography, and the species montmorillonite (Tabelas 1, 2 and 3) attests to continental areas. Despite the authigenic origin, the occurrence of the highest volumes of kaolinite and illite systematically at the top of the shallowing-upward cycles suggests influence of the depositional setting. Hence, a model is proposed where detrital smectites were introduced in large volumes into depressed areas during periods of high base level. As the inflow, and consequently, the base level dropped, the water level decreased, promoting alternation of clastic and chemical deposition under fluctuating subaqueous and subaerial conditions. A semi quantitative study applying EDS revealed that smectites from the black shales contain higher Al relative to Mg, as well as significant values of K (Fig. 7). In addition, the green-grey shales and massive pelite display smectites with Si occupying a tetrahedric position (Tabelas 2 and 3). The octahedric position is occupied by Al, Mg, Fe3+ and, secondarily, Ti. The excess of K confirms the presence of an illitic composition, associated with interestratified illite/smectite. The formation of kaolinite and illite from detrital smectites would have occurred under influence of subaerial exposure and pedogenesis. Further studies are still needed in order to better understand the origin of these authigenic minerals. However, the occurrence of both minerals in a same stratigraphic horizon, associated with marginal lacustrine facies from the top of shallowing upward cycles led to invoke a possible climatic influence. Hence, the formation of illite would have occurred under increased evaporation (drier periods), while the kaolinite would have formed due to the influence of phreatic waters having low pH (relatively more humid periods). The dominance of detrital montmorillonite suggests its formation as a consequence of weathering in continental arid areas. These characteristics, added to the vast presence of evaporites in the study areas, led to indicate a prevailing hot, arid to semi-arid climate during the Late Aptian of the Grajaú Basin. <![CDATA[Aspectos sedimentológicos y estratigráficos de los depósitos cuaternarios de la costa platense del Departamento de Canelones (Uruguay)]]> http://www.scielo.org.ar/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1851-49792006000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Esta contribución brinda elementos sedimentológico-estratigráficos de los depósitos cuaternarios que aparecen en los acantilados y plataformas en la costa rioplatense del Departamento de Canelones, Uruguay. Se constató la presencia de depósitos regresivos e ingresivos cuaternarios, materializados por los sedimentos pleistocénicos transicionales de la Formación Chuy y los continentales de las formaciones Libertad y Dolores, así como los transicionales holocénicos de la Formación Villa Soriano. Se caracteriza litológicamente cada unidad, se interpretan los procesos actuantes y se hacen inferencias acerca de los ambientes de sedimentación involucrados.<hr/>The Uruguayan Quaternary record has been studied by several authors in the last four decades. The Quaternary glacial and interglacial record shows a few tens meters of thickness and is integrated by both sediments and non-depositional surfaces. The sedimentary package is better exposed in the southern region and coastal area of Uruguay. The non-depositional surfaces (iron crust) and paleosoils are better exposed in the north and eastern region. The Lithostratigraphic column proposed by Goso (1965, 1972) focuses the Quaternary record with a precursor genetic point of view, integrating lithologic, geomorphologic and climate conditions. However, this stratigraphic proposal was partially adopted and understood by some scientists. Transitional sediments of the Pleistocene Chuy Formation and continental deposits of Libertad and Dolores formations are present. Also, transitional Holocene sediments of Villa Soriano Formation were shown and are described (Fig. 1). The goal of this paper is to contribute to the knowledge of a part of this record especially towards some sedimentologic and stratigraphic features of the Quaternary deposits exposed along Rio de la Plata coast in the Canelones Department, Uruguay (Figure 2). The Chuy Formation is very well exposed in Villa Argentina and Las Vegas - La Floresta beaches. It is integrated mainly by white conglomerates and coarse to fine sandstones with current and wave traction structures and trace fossils. Also contains fossiliferous green clay deposits. It looks with variable thickness since a few meters to twenty five meters (Figs. 3 and 5). It was deposited during an interglacial period in transitional sedimentary environment, predominantly the shoreface portion in a barrier island and lagoon systems, into tidal conditions. The top of this lithofacies sequence shows a thin (few centimetres) iron crust in the area. This non-depositional surface was also observed in others inner Canelones localities (several Santa Lucia river sections). The Libertad and Dolores Formations can be observed in several localities along the studied area. They are composed mainly of brownish fangolites and silt-clay sediments. Massive, parallel lamination, incised lobes and tabular deposition are the main structures and geometries exposed of these units (Figs 4-8). They were deposited during a Pleistocene glacial period with the alternance of semiarid and temperate conditions and materialize a continental sedimentation (gravity flows, reworked eolian deposits). These units show a few meters of thickness. The Villa Soriano Formation is present in La Floresta beach, Sarandí creek mouth, and is composed mainly by grey fangolites and black fossiliferous clays containing molluscs valves (Figs 3e and 9). This unit was deposited during the current interglacial period and materializes the last ingressive sea-level conditions. Considering both the coastal outcrops and subsurface distribution in Uruguay the Villa Soriano Formation represents the last holocenic embayments and shorelines. The thickness of this unit in the area is less than six meters. The coast of Canelones Department along Río de la Plata shows several meters of quaternary sequences in many locations. In these combined sections two transgressive-regressive cycles were observed and analyzed. The former is composed by sediments of the Libertad II (continental) and Chuy III (transitional) Formations deposited since Medium to Upper Pleistocene, while the latter is constituted by a few meters thickness of sediments that belongs to both Dolores (continental) and Villa Soriano (transitional) formations during the time interval Upper Pleistocene - Holocene.