A sequence stratigraphic approach to a Middle Triassic shelf-slope complex of the Ligurian Alps (Ligurian Briançonnais, Monte Carmo-Rialto unit, Italy)

Alessandro Decarlis, Alberto Lualdi

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13 Scopus citations


The Mesozoic sedimentary cover belonging to the Monte Carmo-Rialto unit of the Ligurian Briançonnais domain is composed of Scythian clastics and Anisian to Carnian carbonate rocks over 300 m thick. This paper focuses on the stratigraphy of this carbonate complex, its environmental significance, and its evolution in light of dynamic stratigraphy. Our facies analysis of limestones and dolomites of the Triassic complex allowed us to reconstruct an environmental model. Data support a distally steepened carbonate ramp of Anisian age evolving to a more diversified Ladinian platform with an oolitic sand-bar belt separating the lagoon from the slope. The Monte Carmo-Rialto slope facies are the only witnesses of deep sedimentation in the Triassic terrains of the Ligurian Briançonnais domain, otherwise represented by shallow-water carbonate deposits. On the basis of facies succession, we have identified nine medium-scale cycles (third-order sequences) in the study area, comparable to those evidenced in the Briançonnais s.s. domain by the French authors. Small-scale cycles analysis evidenced mainly shallowing-upward trends in the examined sequences; although a few evidences of transgression-related deposits (deepening upward cycles) have been found at the base three sequences, they have been mostly obliterated by dolomitization and masked by local tectonics. For this reason, we can undoubtedly distinguish only the part of each sequence belonging to HST, while the TST, though present, still remains a partition that cannot be precisely characterized. In the same way, LSTs are not present in the Monte Carmo-Rialto unit, due to the original relative landward position of the examined area. Sequence stratigraphy analysis indicates different long-term dynamics for the two evolutionary stages of the Triassic Ligurian platform: a general landward backstepping to moderate progradation during the Early Anisian and true progradation during the latest Anisian and Ladinian. In addition, a good fit with the sequences proposed by the SEPM chart has been found, indicating a correspondence for the third-order sequences of the Middle Triassic.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)267-290
Number of pages24
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Carbonate ramp
  • Depositional environment
  • Ligurian Briançonnais domain
  • Middle Triassic
  • Monte Carmo-Rialto tectonic unit
  • Sequence stratigraphy


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