Geologica Belgica

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Jacques HERMAN, Etienne STEURBAUT & Noël VANDENBERGHE

THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE MIDDLE EOCENE BRUSSEL SAND AND THE LEDE SAND FORMATIONS IN THE ZAVENTEM-NEDEROKKERZEEL AREA (NORTHEAST OF BRUSSELS, BELGIUM)

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Mots-clés : Belgium, KEYWORDS: Brussel Sand/Lede Sand boundary, Middle Eocene, calcareous nannofossils.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. In the Zaventem airport railway cutting, to the north-east of Brussels, the upper part of the Brussel Sand Formation consists of two major units, both attributable to calcareous nannofossil zone NP14a. The lower predomi­nantly sandy unit ZB1 (including subunits A, B and C, belonging to NP14al) is built up of sparsely glauconitic, relatively coarse tidal current deposits with nodule levels cemented by carbonate and silica, of which one shows slump­ing structures and is interpreted as a seismite. The uppermost unit ZB2 (also labelled D, belonging to NP14a2), com­posed of alternating thin fine sandstone bands and silty marls, represents the fill of a large channel. In the Berg-Nederokkerzeel sandpit the carbonate-rich Brussel Sand Formation is finer grained and more homogeneous. Here, the basal sand (unit A) is attributable to NP14a3 and consequently, younger than the section exposed at Zaventem. It is incised at its the top by a rather narrow erosive gully, filled in with well-sorted fine sand rich in washed-in molluscs (unit B), some of which seem to point to a brackish influence. The extreme top is made up of half a meter of sand with abundant Callianassa burrows and echinid fragments (unit C). From the nannofossil data it appears that, east of Brus­sels, at least two generations of tidal channel systems seem to have occurred within the Brussel Sand Formation, followed by a partial emersion at the end of the filling of the uppermost channel (Nederokkerzeel B). This was suc­ceeded by a relative sea-level rise, as shown by unit C and the remains of a completely eroded fully marine deposit, reworked in the base of the overlying Lede Sand Formation. The lowest relative sea level, with at least partial emer­gence of the Brussels area, occurred during middle to late Biochron NP14b. In both outcrops the Lede Sand Formation displays its characteristic pale grey relatively fine-grained homogeneous nature with a stone layer near its base. It can be concluded that, at the beginning of the "Lede transgression", an erosion of older deposits, containing already lifhified stone layers, occurred. This was, apparently, at least locally, caused by storms, which could redistribute, imbricate and turn over the stones, explaining their bio-perforation on both sides. Afterwards the stones have been above water for a relatively long time, enough to allow the dissolution of the perforating organisms and consequently an important oxidation of their surfaces. These stones have subsequently been colonised by a new marine fauna. Part of the shark teeth and calcareous nannofossil assemblages found in the coarse base of the Lede Sand is definitely older than the taxa normally found in the Lede Sand Formation. These fossils are the remains of a sediment package, believed to represent the formerly "Laekenian" stage.

To cite this article

Jacques HERMAN, Etienne STEURBAUT & Noël VANDENBERGHE, «THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE MIDDLE EOCENE BRUSSEL SAND AND THE LEDE SAND FORMATIONS IN THE ZAVENTEM-NEDEROKKERZEEL AREA (NORTHEAST OF BRUSSELS, BELGIUM)», Geologica Belgica [En ligne], number 3-4, volume 3 (2000), 231-255 URL : http://popups.ulg.ac.be/1374-8505/index.php?id=2207.

About: Jacques HERMAN

Geological Survey of Belgium, Jennerstraat 13, B-1000 Brussel

About: Etienne STEURBAUT

Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen, Vautierstraat 29, B-1000 Brussel

About: Noël VANDENBERGHE

Historische Geologie, KU Leuven, Redingenstraat 16, B-3000 Leuven