ABSTRACT

The world-class Middle–Upper Devonian carbonate outcrops of the Lennard Shelf, Canning Basin, Western Australia, offer a unique opportunity to examine reefal carbonate shelf-to-basin evolution in response to multiple coeval extrinsic and intrinsic drivers. Variable styles of carbonate stratigraphic architecture and heterogeneity developed as a function of the interplay between long hierarchical accommodation trends, global biological crises, greenhouse-to-transitional climatic changes, and syndepositional tectonics. The linkage of reservoir-scale, shelf-to-basin carbonate expression to regional, seismic-scale architectures made possible by these pristine exposures allows the generation of conceptual models and predictive relationships that are relevant to steep-sided carbonate hydrocarbon reservoirs and plays. Furthermore, exquisite exposure of syndepositional fracture systems and their association with carbonate facies and position along the depositional profile provide templates for characterization of subsurface nonmatrix flow. In particular, the Lennard Shelf outcrops are excellent analogs for the age-equivalent Canadian Alberta Basin and Carboniferous reservoirs of the Pricaspian Basin in Kazakhstan; however, the breadth of insight contained within the Lennard Shelf outcrop belt is applicable to the greater understanding of reefal carbonate systems in general.

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