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Facies and architecture of the SCIc formation (Schisto-Calcaire Group), Republic of the Congo, in the Niari-Nyanga and Comba subbasins of the neoproterozoic west Congo basin after the marinoan glaciation event

Abstract : The Neoproterozoic Schisto-Calcaire Group (630 to ca. 580 Ma) was deposited on an extensive carbonate shelf in the margin of the Congo Craton in the Niari-Nyanga and Comba subbasins (Gabon and Republic of the Congo). It consists of three carbonate-dominated subgroups (SCI to SCIII, up to 1300 m-thick) recording relative sea-level changes. The SCIc Formation, at the upper part of the SCI Subgroup, is a carbonate succession of meter-scale shallowing-upward cycles, composed of a standard sequence of 7 facies grouped in 5 facies associations recording the evolution of a marine ramp from distal carbonate muds and giant stromatolitic bioherms (F1–F2) and extensive ooid shoals (F3), to proximal settings submitted to evaporation near a sabkha (F7). Fifth-order ‘meter-scale’ (or elementary parasequences) packages are grouped into fourth-order sequences (parasequence sets), which are not correlative in the whole basin. Two categories of fifth-order elementary parasequences are recognized, on the basis of physical bounding surfaces: (i) subtidal cycles bounded by marine flooding surfaces across which subfacies deepen; and (ii) peritidal cycles bounded by subaerial exposure surfaces. These cycles are the result of the interplay of relative sea-level changes due to eustatic variations related to periodic extensional tectonic events affecting the whole basin. The Niari-Nyanga and Comba subbasins experienced basin tectonics in the general context of the rifting of Rodinia creating changes of relative sea-level in the different parts of the shelf. The SCIc cycles are enclosed into a third-order sequence with two major transgressive-regressive phases, related to the deposition of the SCI Subgroup. The most typical sedimentologic feature of the SCIc Formation is the deposition of giant stromatolitic bioherms (stacked up to 20 m) topped by ooid shoals (up to 75 m thick) deposited during high systems tract prograding and forced regressive systems tract phases that ended with a lowstand systems tract phase with evaporitic and karstic conditions at the top of the SCIc Formation. The elementary parasequences and parasequence sets are probably the result of the migration of lateral environments related to the variation of the energy in relation to tectonic setting. As a result, a regional sea-level increase is for the first time highlighted in transgressive systems tract phase (composed of microbial induced sedimentary structures Facies) in the lower part of the SCIc Formation. The third-order succession can be followed more than 100 km in the Republic of the Congo and several hundred meters from South of Gabon to the Lower Congo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tentative detailed sequence stratigraphy correlations between both Congo's highlight the role of tectonics affecting both areas.
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Anna Perla Ackouala Mfere, Franck Delpomdor, Jean-Noël Proust, Florent Boudzoumou, Yannick Callec, et al.. Facies and architecture of the SCIc formation (Schisto-Calcaire Group), Republic of the Congo, in the Niari-Nyanga and Comba subbasins of the neoproterozoic west Congo basin after the marinoan glaciation event. Journal of African Earth Sciences, Elsevier, 2020, pp.103776. ⟨10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2020.103776⟩. ⟨insu-02497974⟩

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