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Carbonate sand accumulations of reservoir size commonly occur on or near the seaward edge of banks, platforms and shelves. They may also form within the platform interiors or on topographically high areas in regionally deep water, but these occurrences are not as common as those along the margins. Bank-margin sand accumulations may grade landward or seaward within a fraction of a kilometer of other environments and, thus, do not have wide lateral extent in a dip direction. Such accumulations are sufficiently distinct and economically important as carbonate reservoirs to warrant their treatment in some detail. This paper provides an overview of modern and ancient carbonate sand bodies, and refers the reader to detailed work covering many aspects of carbonate sands.

Bank-margin carbonate sands occur repeatedly throughout the geologic record and are a prominent component of carbonate facies models (Fig. 1). Shaw (1964) and Irwin (1965) recognized the persistence of this facies in epeiric sea models as a seaward high-energy zone separating low-energy, deeper-water sediments from low-energy, shallow-water lagoonal deposits. More recent models by Heckel (1972), Lees (1973), and Wilson (1975) emphasize the importance of the zone in which carbonate sands accumulate. In nature, sand accumulations are not distinct and isolated from other facies (as are the chapters of this volume from each other, for example), and there will necessarily be some overlap between this chapter and those concerning reefs, beaches and islands, and lagoons.

Our understanding of carbonate sand deposition is biased toward bank-margin deposits because most modern studies have focused on these.

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