Recent discoveries of large quantities of hydrocarbons in Late Paleozoic-Early Cenozoic carbonate slope facies (Enos, 1977; Viniegra-O, 1981; Cook, 1983) have stimulated research on these deep-water depositional environments in order to increase our knowledge and understanding of their nature and origin, as well as to develop working models (Mullins, 1978; McIlreath and James, 1978; Mullins and Neumann, 1979a; Schlager and Chermak, 1979; Schlager and Ginsburg, 1981; Cook and Mullins, 1983; Cook, 1983; Mullins, 1983a). Most studies of modern carbonate slopes and basins have focused on the Bahama Platform, although fore-reef regions (ώ300 – 400m water depth) of Jamaica and Belize have also been extensively investigated (James and Ginsburg, 1979; Enos and Moore, 1983). Because of this, we will focus our attention, in this course, on modern Bahamian carbonate slopes and basins which exhibit a multitude of carbonate slope types.
Studies of modern carbonate slopes and basins in the Bahamas began in the 1060's (Busby, 1962; Rusnak and Nesteroff, 1964; Pilkey and Rucker, 1966; Gibson and Schlee, 1967; Rucker, 1968) , and continued modestly through the early to mid 1970's (Andrews et al., 1970; Neumann and Ball, 1970; Bornhold and Pilkey, 1971; Kier and Pilkey, 1971; Lynts et al, 1973; Bennetts and Pilkey, 1976; Mullins and Lynts, 1976; Schlager et al, 1976; Wilber, 1976). This, in turn, has been followed by extensive regional and local investigations during the late 1970's and early 1980's (Neumann et al., 1977; Mullins, 1978; Boardman, 1978; Schlager and James, 1978; Mullins and Neumann, 1979a; Schlager and
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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.