Influence of microbial framework on Cryogenian microbial facies, Rasthof Formation, Namibia
E. Le Ber, D. P. Le Heron, N. H. Oxtoby, 2015. "Influence of microbial framework on Cryogenian microbial facies, Rasthof Formation, Namibia", Microbial Carbonates in Space and Time: Implications for Global Exploration and Production, D. W. J. Bosence, K. A. Gibbons, D. P. Le Heron, W. A. Morgan, T. Pritchard, B. A. Vining
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The Rasthof Formation is a mid-Cryogenian cap carbonate succession deposited in Namibia following the Sturtian glaciation. It includes a microbial member, typically >100 m thick. This member exhibits contorted intervals, and is divisible into two informally defined units. The lower unit (microbial member 1: MM1) comprises thickly laminated microbialites (1–6 mm); the upper unit (MM2) is characterized by thinly laminated microbialites (sub-millimetre layering). Contortion of the microbialite deposits – a recurrent feature of this succession – is interpreted to result from soft-sediment deformation. Deformed intervals and styles range from metre- to decimetre-scale chaotic folds in MM1 to a few centimetre-scale, localized roll-up structures in MM2. Study of the microfacies of MM1 and MM2 reveals two essentially different architectures. In MM1 the microfacies is dominated by an alternation of thin micritic laminae with thicker cemented intervals; this probably gave less rigidity to the sediments than in MM2 where the laminated fabric is also present but connected vertically as well, forming a continuous framework. We suggest that the continuity of this framework limited the frequency and scale of soft-sediment deformation. In the Rasthof Formation, the microarchitecture is thus suggested to translate into different degrees of rigidity of the macrofacies.
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