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Seismic Expressions and Interpretation of Carbonate Sequences: The Maldives Platform, Equatorial Indian Ocean
Shallow-water carbonate sediments deposited in tropical and subtropical settings form thick and spatially extensive accumulations referred to as “carbonate platforms.” Carbonate platforms typically have life spans of millions of tens of milliions of years, and their birth, growth, and demise are governed by a combination of factors such as tectonics, eustasy, environmental conditions, and climate. Carbonate platforms contain an archive of variations of these factors through time in its sedimentary record. These changes can then be extracted from this record, providing insight into our understanding of sedimentary processes and enhancing our knowledge of earth’s history. This study examines the stratigraphy and evolution of the Maldives isolated carbonate platform, in the equatorial Indian Ocean. The Maldives platform is unique because of its enormous size (800 x 130 km). It is the second-largest modern isolated carbonate platform (after the Bahamas). Established in the early Eocene and now more than 3 km thick, the platform contains a sedimentary record which spans more than 50 million years. This study is based on interpretation of the regional 2-D seismic data set and data from one deep exploration well that resulted from Royal Dutch/Shell during its exploration campaign in 1989-1991. The excellent quality and the vast volume (6000km of seismic data) allowed the authors to conduct a detailed study of the Maldives platform.