Henry T. Mullins, 1983. "Structural Controls of Contemporary Carbonate Continental Margins: Bahamas, Belize, Australia", Platform Margin and Deep Water Carbonates, Harry E. Cook, Albert C. Hine, Henry T. Mullins
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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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The increased need to find new energy resources in deep marine frontier environments has clearly intensified the importance and interest in deep water carbonate settings and how these settings interrelate to adjacent shoal water platform margins. Coarse-grained mass-flow deposits beyond the shelf break in terrigenous clastic environments have been known for many years to form major petroleum reservoirs, and it is likely that similar deep-water clastic facies will continue to be future exploration targets. The purpose of this short course is to improve approaches and ideas related to petroleum and mineral exploration in platform margin and deeper water carbonate environments. Emphasis is placed on understanding depositional environments, their contained facies and diagenetic patterns. Better geologic interpretation of these three elements in carbonate sedimentology and facies analysis is usually critical in petroleum exploration. These elements are also receiving wider importance in base metal exploration as many mineral deposits in carbonates are controlled by primary depositional patterns and not simply due to tectonics and/or proximity to igneous intrustions.