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Structural Controls of Contemporary Carbonate Continental Margins: Bahamas, Belize, Australia

Henry T. Mullins
Henry T. Mullins
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January 01, 1983


The physiography of many ancient carbonate platforms is characterized by distinct linear trends and/or a series of segmented carbonate platforms separated by deeper water basins (Wilson, 1975). Selected examples include Upper Cambrian-Lower Ordovician carbonates of western North America (Cook and Taylor, 1977), the Devonian Canning Basin of western Australia (Playford, 1980), the Devonian Alberta Basin of western Canada (Kraft, 1971), the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico (Newell et al, 1953), the Triassic Dolomites of northern Italy (Bosellini and Rossi, 1974), Jurassic sequences of the Mediterranean region (Bernoulli and Jenkyns, 1974; Bosellini et al, 1981; Winterer and Bosellini, 1981), the Cretaceous of Mexico (Enos, 1974), and the Miocene of St. Croix (Multer et al, 1977).

Why do carbonate platforms exhibit great linearity and/or multiplicity of platform margins? What are the fundamental, underlying controls on carbonate platform physiography? To help answer these questions and to gain a better knowledge and understanding of carbonate platform evolution we will examine selected, well-studied, contemporary examples. During this portion of the course we will briefly review and discuss the fundamental structural controls responsible for the development of: (1) the Bahama Platform; (2) Belize barrier and atoll reefs; and (3) the Great Barrier Reef and environs of Queensland, northeastern Australia.

The northern Bahama carbonate platform, with its vast expanses of warm, shallow, tropical seas and intervening deep-water basins (Fig.2-1) is a common modern analog for both sedimentological and structural interpretation of many ancient carbonate platforms. How, why, and when did the present configuration of

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SEPM Short Course Notes

Platform Margin and Deep Water Carbonates

Harry E. Cook
Harry E. Cook
Branch of Oil and Gas Resources, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA
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Albert C. Hine
Albert C. Hine
Department of Marine Sciences, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL
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Henry T. Mullins
Henry T. Mullins
Department of Geology, Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 1983




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