The Middle Ordovician Knox Unconformity in the Black Warrior Basin
Published:January 01, 2012
Gary S. Dwyer, John E. Repetski, 2012. "The Middle Ordovician Knox Unconformity in the Black Warrior Basin", Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia, James Derby, Richard Fritz, Susan Longacre, William Morgan, Charles Sternbach
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Analysis of well core and cuttings from the Black Warrior Basin in Mississippi reveals the presence of a Middle Ordovician (Whiterockian) erosional unconformity interpreted to be equivalent to the well-known Knox-Beekmantown unconformity in eastern North America. The unconformity occurs at the top of a peritidal dolostone unit known informally as the upper dolostone, whose stratigraphic placement has been the subject of a long-standing controversy. The unconformity, which represents the Sauk-Tippecanoe megasequence boundary on the North American craton, was previously thought to be short-lived or altogether absent in the Black Warrior Basin.
The unconformity is characterized by subunconformity solution pipes, solution-collapse breccias, internal sedimentation, and erosional truncation of the underlying dolostone unit. This erosional surface is veneered with sand- to pebble-size, rounded and angular lithoclasts of the underlying dolostone, and rounded and angular quartz sand and silt. Extensive secondary porosity developed in the upper dolostone below the unconformity. Although much of this porosity was later occluded by internal sedimentation and pore-filling dolomite and calcite cement, porous zones remain in the upper dolostone.
Based on conodont biostratigraphy from four cores and from a previous study on cuttings from a nearby well, the unconformity is middle Whiterockian in age and likely spans most or all of the Histiodella holodentata Biozone.
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Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia
The Great American Carbonate Bank (GACB) comprises the carbonates (and related siliciclastics) of the Sauk megasequence, which were deposited on and around the Laurentian continent during Cambrian through earliest Middle Ordovician, forming one of the largest carbonate-dominated platforms of the Phanerozoic. The Sauk megasequence, which ranges upwards of several thousand meters thick along the Bank's margin, consists of distinctive Lithofacies and fauna that are widely recognized throughout Laurentia. A refined biostratigraphic zonation forms the chronostratigraphic framework for correlating disparate outcrops and subsurface data, providing the basis for interpreting depositional patterns and the evolution of the Bank. GACB hydrocarbon fields have produced 4 BBO and 21 TCFG, mostly from reservoirs near the Sauk-Tippecanoe unconformity. The GACB is also a source of economic minerals and construction material and, locally, serves as either an aquifer or repository for injection of waste material. This Memoir comprises works on biostratigraphy, ichnology, stratigraphy, depositional facies, diagenesis, and petroleum and mineral resources of the GACB. It is dedicated to James Lee Wilson who first conceived of this publication and who worked on many aspects of the GACB during his long and illustrious career.