The Drowning of Ooid Shoals: Mississippian Greenbrier Limestone Near the West Virginia Dome
The Greenbrier Limestone was deposited in a subsiding basin in southeastern West Virginia and adjacent Virginia and across a broad, shallow shelf located to the north and northwest. Oolitic limestones are thick and extensive in southern West Virginia, but most thin and change in character to the north. An area of uplift, the West Virginia dome was active along the zone of change in north-central West Virginia. The dome was exposed during early Greenbrier deposition and remained as a submarine high throughout deposition of these predominantly oolitic, Mississippian-aged limestones.
The transition from oolitic grainstones that contain well-developed ooids through grainstones that comprise less well-developed ooids mixed with detrital quartz sand to poorly washed, quartz-sandy, oolitic packstones is interpreted to indicate flooding of the shoals around the West Virginia dome.
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A coincidence of tectonic, eustatic, and geochemical conditions resulted in substantial deposits of oolitic limestone during later Mississippian time in the continental United States. These oolitic limestones have formed petroleum reservoirs with favorable primary and secondary recovery characteristics. Significant potential reserves in stratigraphic traps remain to be discovered and developed in these reservoirs.