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Book Chapter

Paleokarst

Published:
January 01, 1991

Abstract

Cores from the giant Whitney Canyon-Carter Creek gas field in western Wyoming show the nature of a siliciclastic filled karsted carbonate surface in an area with limited outcrop exposure. Regional outcrop studies by others document that a large carbonate platform was subaerially exposed during early Meramecian through Chesterian time across Wyoming, creating a karst surface on the Madison Limestone. From Chesterian to Morrowan time, a west-to-east marine transgression filled solution features with siliciclastic material of the Morgan (Amsden) Formation and equivalents. At Whitney Canyon-Carter Creek Field, the upper Mission Canyon Formation (Madison equivalent) contains this mixed carbonate and siliciclastic facies.

The uppermost 70 to 100 ft (21 to 30 m) of the Mission Canyon at Whitney Canyon-Carter Creek is a correlatable transition zone from preserved evaporite and dolostone beds beneath to the overlying siliciclastics of the Morgan Formation. Cores contain fractured and stylolitized carbonates that underwent solution collapse and brecciation due to dissolution and the subsequent filling of cracks and vugs by siliciclastic sands. Solution-collapse breccias in the cores have a sandstone matrix and dolostone clasts that are rounded, stained to a pinkish hue, locally capped by red clay drapes, and sometimes aligned as if deposited by a current. Breccias interpreted as tectonic in origin have only cement with no matrix and contain angular clasts with matching clast boundaries, i.e., fitted, indicating that fracturing occurred without any extensive dislocation of the clasts.

The mixing of carbonates and siliciclastics within brecciated intervals is significant because these observations suggest that the Mississippian karst plain and associated shoreline extended considerably further west than previously thought, especially when thrust belt structural positions are restored. Evidence presented here suggests that the maximum western shoreline position was at least 20 miles (32.5 km) west of the Utah-Wyoming border.

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Contents

SEPM Core Workshop Notes

Mixed Carbonate-Siliciclastic Sequences

Anthony J. Lomando
Anthony J. Lomando
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Paul M. Harris
Paul M. Harris
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
15
ISBN electronic:
9781565762695
Publication date:
January 01, 1991

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