The Sauk Megasequence in the Cratonic Interior of North America: Interplay between a Fully Developed Inner Detrital Belt and the Central Great American Carbonate Bank
Anthony C. Runkel, Robert M. McKay, Clinton A. Cowan, James F. Miller, John F. Taylor, 2012. "The Sauk Megasequence in the Cratonic Interior of North America: Interplay between a Fully Developed Inner Detrital Belt and the Central Great American Carbonate Bank", 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 Sauk megasequence in the far inboard region of the cratonic interior of North America (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa) is divisible into two packages that fundamentally differ from one another in facies and stratigraphic attributes. A lower Sauk succession package, Marjuman–early Skullrockian in age, is characterized by deposits of the traditional inner detrital belt (IDB) that interfinger hundreds of kilometers seaward with the middle carbonate belt or cratonward margin of the central mid-continent great American carbonate bank (GACB). The IDB contains a typical suite of nearshore siliciclastic facies containing features that document the importance of both wave- and tide-dominated currents in the depositional system. The transitional area between the IDB and the GACB in the Cambrian and earliest Ordovician was a moat, characterized by relatively deep-water deposition, which served as a catchment for mud that was winnowed from landward parts of the shelf and then deposited near the stormwave base. Mixed carbonate and siliciclastic facies in the moat are characterized by condensation features and other attributes indicative of suppressed carbonate productivity and starvation of siliciclastic sand. These facies contrast with shallower water facies that commonly filled available accommodation space in both seaward (central part of the GACB) and landward (cratonic shoreline) directions, the former dominated by typical stacks of oolitic, ribbon-rock, and microbialite lithofacies, and the latter by stacks of nearshore siliciclastic sand-dominated parasequences. Our chronostratigraphic framework provides temporal constraints that support the long-postulated hypothesis that these two depositional systems expanded and contracted in reciprocating fashion: substantial landward migration and expansion of the GACB occurred when siliciclastic input was diminished during the most rapid rates of transgression (marked by maximum flooding intervals in the IDB). Retreat and diminishment in the extent of the GACB corresponded to falls in sea level that led to major progradations of nearshore siliciclastics of the IDB and terrigenous poisoning of the carbonate factory.
An overlying upper Sauk succession package records the establishment of a fundamentally different depositional system in the far inboard regions of the cratonic interior beginning in the later Skullrockian. The Prairie du Chien Group and its equivalents represent a major landward migration and perhaps cratonwide distribution of the oolitic, ribbon-rock, and micro-bialite lithofacies that were previously restricted mostly to the GACB of Missouri and adjacent areas. This change was triggered by a pronounced continental-scale flooding event that led to onlap across much, or all, of the cratonic interior. The resultant burial of terrigenous source regions by carbonate strata is in part responsible for this fundamental change in de-positional conditions.
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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.