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Middle and Upper Miocene Reefs and Carbonate Platforms in Israel

By
Binyamin Buchbinder
Binyamin Buchbinder
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhe Yisrael Street, 95501 Jerusalem, Israel
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Published:
January 01, 1996

Abstract:

During most of the Miocene epoch, deposition in the Mediterranean coastal plain and offshore areas of Israel was characterized by hemipelagic sediments of fine-grained siliciclastics. These were deposited along the ancient continental slope as a result of terrigenous influx into the eastern Mediterranean from river systems preceding that of the present Nile River. Miocene reefs and carbonate platforms developed during two short periods when sea level rose and flooded the shelf, in early Middle Miocene (upper part of N8 to N9) and in Late Miocene times (N17). Sediments of the first event are known as the Ziqlag Formation and of the second, as the Pattish Formation. The early Middle Miocene Ziqlag phase is characterized by two carbonate platforms which occupy different topographic levels in the Shefela (foothills) area. They are a result of two successive transgressive events corresponding to third-order cycles 2.3 and 2.4 combined with a continued westward tilting of the shelf. During the younger 2.4 cycle, the distal part of the first platform was tectonically elevated and an abrasional sea-cliff was formed marking the boundary between the higher and lower platforms. The higher platform is represented by a rhodalgal-ramp lithofacies and constitutes small-scale cycles of shoreface storm deposits of grainstones/packstones with hummocky cross stratification and of graded shell-beds (floatstones), alternating with claystones of backshore lagoon environment with large oysters. The stacking pattern of the small-scale cycles exhibits progradational regressive characteristics. The lower platform is poorl y exposed. The Ofaqim reef at its western edge shows a relatively low diversity coral assemblage (faviids, stylophorids and poritids). This together with the "temperate" rhodalgal lithofacies of the higher platform may either reflect the beginning of the gradual cooling towards the Upper Miocene or the lowering of the salinity of the Mediterranean surface layer in Middle Miocene times (Serravallian crisis). Late Miocene carbonates (Pattish Formation), corresponding to 3rd-order cycle 3.2, predate the Messinian desiccation. They did not penetrate far beyond the shelf edge area except along the Gaza Beer Sheva canyon. In Ofaqim, they truncate the seaward part of the Ziqlag reef, showing prograding clinoforms of alternating dolomitized rhodoliths and claystones, topped by a veneer of branching Porites colonies. Debris flow deposits of mixed reef-derived clasts and Cretaceous lithoclasts accumulated in the slope along the submarine canyons at that time. Messinian evaporites of deep marine origin overlie these sediments. Landwards, the evaporites onlap older formations, reflecting a sea-level rise during cycle 3.3.

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Contents

SEPM Concepts in Sedimentology and Paleontology

Models for Carbonate Stratigraphy from Miocene Reef Complexes of Mediterranean Regions

Evan K. Franseen
Evan K. Franseen
Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
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Mateu Esteban
Mateu Esteban
Carbonates International Ltd, Esporles, Mallorca, Spain
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William C. Ward
William C. Ward
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of New Orleans, Louisiana
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Jean-Marie Rouchy
Jean-Marie Rouchy
Laboratoire de Geologie, Museum National D'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
5
ISBN electronic:
9781565762282
Publication date:
January 01, 1996

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