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Abstract

Widespread ooid deposition characterized much of the United States during the Mississippian and was the product of an unusual coincidence of ideal regional paleogeographic and tectonic factors, as well as global paleo- climatic, eustatic, and geochemical conditions. The contribution of tectonics, largely through flexural mechanisms, is considered to have had the greatest effect.

During the Mississippian, parts of three orogenic belts, the Antler, the Ouachita, and the Acadian, bounded southern parts of North America in the present-day United States. Various active and relaxational phases of these orogenies generated peripheral bulges that migrated within and beyond foreland basins to adjacent parts of the foreland, creating broad areas of uplift into shallow, agitated waters conducive to ooid production.

During the Early Mississippian (Kinderhookian), bulge migration and uplift were incomplete, so ooid distribution was limited. By the middle Mississippian (Valmeyeran), episodes of coeval Antler and Ouachita flexure combined with Acadian relaxation created broad belts of uplift on the inner craton, where the most prolific ooid production occurred. In the Late Mississippian (Chesterian), largely filled foreland basins and rising tectonic highlands caused siliciclastic inundation of adjacent sites of ooid production, resulting in thinner, more localized ooid deposits. By the end of the middle Chesterian, all major concentrations of Mississippian ooids had disappeared.

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