Shallow marine sedimentation within an active margin basin, James Ross Island, Antarctica
The Santa Marta Formation exposed on northern James Ross Island, Antarctica, represents shallow marine shelf sedimentation within an active margin basin. The formation is approximately 1000 m thick, is of uppermost Santonian to Campanian age and represents part of a 5000–6000 m thick sedimentary sequence forming the Larsen Basin. The Larsen Basin represents either a back-arc basin, or a half-graben basin, developed on the extending margin of the Weddell Sea. Twelve sedimentary facies have been recognised, which can be subdivided into two groups: those which are controlled by shelf processes and those which are related to active arc volcanism. Background shelf processes include fair-weather suspension sedimentation, storm sands and rare tidal current reworking. Active arc processes include direct settling of airfall detritus and rapid resedimentation of volcaniclastic detritus by sandy debris-flows and both high- and low-concentration turbidity currents. In addition sheet conglomerates represent debris flows that evolved from syn-sedimentary slumps. Two facies associations representing a mid to outer shelf and an inner shelf depositional setting respectively can be distinguished, with an apparent regression in the ?mid to late Campanian.