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Abstract:

Development of the Mississippian carbonate platform along the eastern margin of the foreland basin of the Antler Orogen was controlled by subsidence due primarily to emplacement of the Roberts Mountains allochthon, but also to variable rates of carbonate production and eustatic sea-level changes. A series of stratigraphic sections in southern Nevada and eastern California, oriented approximately perpendicular to the original depositional trends, has allowed evaluation of the relative influence of these controlling factors and development of a depositional model that may have wide application.

Mississippian carbonate-platform sedimentation began with a rapid transgression in Kinderhookian time, probably due to a sea-level rise and perhaps initial thrust loading of the older Devonian carbonate platform. In early Osagean time, final emplacement of the Roberts Mountains allochthon onto sialic North America depressed the platform, greatly reducing carbonate production. By middle Osagean time, carbonate production rates exceeded the rate of formation of accommodation space, initiating northwestward progradation of a shallow-water carbonate platform. Continued progradation produced relatively steep, unstable slopes, and by early Meramecian time a rimmed platform with coral buildups had formed. These changes in platform morphology are recorded in base-of-slope deposits where slope-derived submarine slides are overlain by sediment-gravity-flow deposits containing debris derived from the platform margin. Carbonate deposition ceased in early Meramecian time when an eustatic sea-level fall exposed the entire platform.

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