Historical Note—The Great American Carbonate Bank in the Northern Appalachians: Cambrian–Ordovician (Sauk), Albany Basin, New York
Gerald M. Friedman, 2012. "Historical Note—The Great American Carbonate Bank in the Northern Appalachians: Cambrian–Ordovician (Sauk), Albany Basin, New York", Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia, James Derby, Richard Fritz, Susan Longacre, William Morgan, Charles Sternbach
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The northern Appalachian sedimentary deposit consists of strata that are related to tectonic movements in two significant ways: (1) they are controlled by large-scale tectonic movements and (2) strata that were horizontal when deposited are no longer horizontal and can be used to delineate and measure the extent of structural deformation.
Among the most influential alumni of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, New York, was James Hall (1811–1898), the “Father of the Geosyncline.” Hall (1859) was the originator of the geosynclinal concept (Sharpe, 1998). The concept of a geosyncline was inspired by the geologic relationships that were worked out for the northern Appalachian Mountains. Hall observed that, where the Paleozoic marine strata in the interior of North America are thin (thicknesses of only a few hundreds or a few thousands of meters), they are flat lying. By contrast, in the Appalachians, thicknesses of equivalent strata amount to thousands of meters and the strata are not horizontal. Hall hypothesized that the substance of the strata within a trough, where they would be extra thick, provided the mechanism for folding them.
Both Hall and James Dwight Dana emphasized an important inference about the Appalachian area that had subsided, throughout the thousands of meters of vertical sinking, the depth of the marine waters had remained shallow (Figure 1). In other words, subsidence had been more or less exactly matched by accumulation of sediment. The original idea that a part of the sea floor might subside and yet sediment could
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Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia
The Great American Carbonate Bank (GACB) comprises the carbonates (and related siliciclastics) of the Sauk megasequence, which were deposited on and around the Laurentian continent during Cambrian through earliest Middle Ordovician, forming one of the largest carbonate-dominated platforms of the Phanerozoic. The Sauk megasequence, which ranges upwards of several thousand meters thick along the Bank's margin, consists of distinctive Lithofacies and fauna that are widely recognized throughout Laurentia. A refined biostratigraphic zonation forms the chronostratigraphic framework for correlating disparate outcrops and subsurface data, providing the basis for interpreting depositional patterns and the evolution of the Bank. GACB hydrocarbon fields have produced 4 BBO and 21 TCFG, mostly from reservoirs near the Sauk-Tippecanoe unconformity. The GACB is also a source of economic minerals and construction material and, locally, serves as either an aquifer or repository for injection of waste material. This Memoir comprises works on biostratigraphy, ichnology, stratigraphy, depositional facies, diagenesis, and petroleum and mineral resources of the GACB. It is dedicated to James Lee Wilson who first conceived of this publication and who worked on many aspects of the GACB during his long and illustrious career.