Sedimentological thickness variations within Silurian mudstone-dominated turbidite deposits and the effects on cleavage fanning (Anglo-Brabant Deformation Belt, Belgium)
The effect of vertical changes in lithology on cleavage refraction and cleavage fanning is relatively well understood. In contrast, the control that lateral changes in bed thickness and related multilayer characteristics have on cleavage fanning has not been widely documented. Mudstone-dominated Wenlock-age turbidites of the Anglo-Brabant Deformation Belt, Belgium, exhibit pronounced lateral thickness changes, which we attribute to intraslope flow ponding during foreland basin development. The mudstone-dominated nature of the turbidites is considered to reflect a particularly fine-grained source area, rather than a distal origin. Formation boundaries and lateral changes in lithofacies unit thickness are reflected in the amount of cleavage fanning. The degree of convergent cleavage fanning increases with an increase in thickness of the less competent units and with a decrease in thickness and number of the more competent units. As such, a detailed analysis of changes in cleavage–bedding angle aids in the distinction of different lithostratigraphic units of similar appearance, the location of their boundaries and identification of subtle lateral sedimentological changes. The utilization of cleavage and bedding data to recognize and describe vertical and lateral changes in a semi-quantitative way allows the linkage of subtle changes in multilayer rheology to finite strain trajectories.