Middle and Upper Miocene Reefs and Carbonate Platforms in Israel
Published:January 01, 1996
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Binyamin Buchbinder, 1996. "Middle and Upper Miocene Reefs and Carbonate Platforms in Israel", Models for Carbonate Stratigraphy from Miocene Reef Complexes of Mediterranean Regions, Evan K. Franseen, Mateu Esteban, William C. Ward, Jean-Marie Rouchy
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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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Models for Carbonate Stratigraphy from Miocene Reef Complexes of Mediterranean Regions
Miocene carbonates are intensively explored and locally exploited for hydrocarbons in parts of the Mediterranean regions. The outcrop models presented in this publication provide excellent analogs for the highly productive Miocene carbonates from Iran, Iraq and Gulf of Suez and for smaller reservoirs in other localities. Lessons learned in the outcrops of the Mediterranean regions are applicable as well to Miocene carbonate reservoirs. The Miocene outcrops in Mediterranean regions can serve as models for the relationships between carbonate reservoirs, pre-evaporitic basinal sediments, and overlying evaporites. Additionally, the Miocene carbonate rocks exposed in the Mediterranean regions serve as important analogs for ancient carbonate-rimmed basins with or without basinal evaporites.