EGU22-8721, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Semi-3D stratigraphic architecture of a siliciclastic shallow-marine platform: Insights from the Ktawa Group (Late Ordovician) in Morocco

Déborah Harlet1, Guilhem Amin Douillet1, Jean-François Ghienne2, Pierre Dietrich3, Chloé Bouscary4, Philippe Razin5, and Fritz Schlunegger1
Déborah Harlet et al.
  • 1Institut für Geologie, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland (
  • 2Institut Terre et Envirionnement de Strasbourg, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
  • 3Géosciences Rennes, Université de Rennes 1, Rennes, France
  • 4Institut des Dynamiques de la Surface Terrestre (IDYST), Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 5Institut ENSEGID, Université Bordeaux 3, Talence, France

A semi-3D stratigraphic architecture of the Lower Ktawa Group, deposited during the early Late Ordovician on the northern Gondwana platform in a shallow marine environment, was investigated in the Anti-Atlas. The logging of 42 sections reveals that the Lower Ktawa is dominated by shales, punctuated by fine to coarse sandstones forming successive cuestas. Here, focus is put on three main sand cuestas recording major sea-level drops.

The lowermost cuesta (Foum-Zguid Member) outcrops along >85 km, and dips southward. Three facies associations albeit with complex lateral relationships were distinguished: 1. In the West, coarse-grained cross-bedded sandstones. 2. In the central part, sandstones dominated by Hummocky-Cross-Stratifications (HCS), in amalgamated beds towards the West but isolated within shales towards the East. 3. In the East, dominance of highly bioturbated sandstones. A second cuesta (“Tissint Member”) outcrops exclusively on the western part of the transect, approximately 25-50 m above the Foum-Zguid cuesta, and also dips South-southwestward. This 40 m-thick sandstone complex has a sharp base and is composed of fine to coarse cross-bedded sandstones. At its northeastern limit, the 40 m-thick succession disappears within 3.5 km. The upper cuesta (Bou-Hajaj Member, 5-40 m thick) is found ca.160 m above the base of the Ktawa Group and outcrops in the eastern zone of the study area. Its southern part is characterized by the thickest stack of sandstones, organized in a shallowing upward trend, and comprises HCS-beds and channelized structures a few meters in width. The eastern part is dominated by coarse, bioturbated, cross-bedded sandstones lacking shallowing upward stacking patterns. Its dip is northward, in the opposite direction to the underlying two members. Moreover, from satellite images, a clinothem dipping towards the Northeast is identified, together with the dissociation of the cuesta in two sets pinching out northwestward.

On a regional scale, the directly underlying First Bani Group was reconstructed as a shallow shelf having a northward oriented proximal-to-distal trend (Marante, 2008). A study of the Ktawa Group ca. 200 km Northeast of our study zone evidenced a southwestward proximal-to-distal trend (Meddour, 2016). Furthermore, a regional depocenter of the Ktawa Group is generally thought to occur eastward from our study.

Three interpretation lines are considered to reconcile these apparently contradictory observations: 1. A locally eastward oriented proximal-to-distal trend within a complex sequence stratigraphic framework including superimposed high-frequency cycles. 2. A range of source feeders that may be successively active along an irregular coastline, thereby forming lobes with opposite dispersal patterns. 3. An interplay of reactivation of Panafrican faults (Anti-Atlas/Ougarta) cannot be excluded and may have locally changed the place(s) of maximum accommodation space during deposition. It may also have induced the formation of shoals that would have been partially eroded and recycled. Thus, these apparently contradictory proximal-to-distal trends may actually depict a turning point in the re-organization of the basin predating the end-Ordovician glacial advance.

How to cite: Harlet, D., Douillet, G. A., Ghienne, J.-F., Dietrich, P., Bouscary, C., Razin, P., and Schlunegger, F.: Semi-3D stratigraphic architecture of a siliciclastic shallow-marine platform: Insights from the Ktawa Group (Late Ordovician) in Morocco, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8721,, 2022.


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