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Comparison of Carbonate Cycles in the Cordilleran Region with Midcontinental Cyclothems Suggests a Common Eustatic Origin

By
Ralph L. Langenheim, Jr.
Ralph L. Langenheim, Jr.
Museum of Natural History, University of Illinois, 245 NHB, 1301 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801
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Published:
January 01, 1994

Abstract

Cyclic carbonates from the middle of zone 21 through the Zone of Fusulina at Arrow Canyon, Nevada are asymmetric. They begin with an abrupt initiation of deeper-water deposition and a relatively restricted benthonic fauna. These sediments are gradationally followed by more coarsely grained sediment containing a more varied fauna. Some of the cycles shallow to subaerial exposure. Using current 'best' radiogenic dates for the base of the Bashkirian, Moscovian, and Kasimovian (Harland and others, 1989), calculated cycle duration ranges from 224,000 to 328,000 years. Carbonate rocks below zones 19, 20, and the lower half of 21, are less uniformly cyclical and the cycles reflect a more or less symmetrical rise and fall of sea level. The change to asymmetrical cycles occurs in the near vicinity of the onset of southern hemisphere glaciation, about 315 my (Harland and others, 1989). Asymmetric cycles, similar in character and length to those at Arrow Canyon characterize contemporaneous passive margin deposits of central Utah, through southern Arizona, into New Mexico.

The Arrow Canyon cycles are compatible in asymmetry and apparent duration with the well-documented cyclothems of the Midcontinent. Although it is impossible to biostratigraphically distinguish and correlate western and middlewestern cycles, their occurrence in similar numbers within zonal units and their similar length strongly suggests contemporaneity of individual cycles, continuity within sedimentary basins and a common, eustatic causal process.

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Contents

SEPM Concepts in Sedimentology and Paleontology

Tectonic and Eustatic Controls on Sedimentary Cycles

John M. Dennison
John M. Dennison
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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Frank R. Ettensohn
Frank R. Ettensohn
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
4
ISBN electronic:
9781565762275
Publication date:
January 01, 1994

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