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Abstract:

High-resolution, time-significant correlations are integral to meaningful stratigraphic frameworks in depositional systems but may be difficult to achieve using traditional sequence stratigraphic or biostratigraphic approaches alone, particularly in geologically complex settings. In steep, reefal carbonate margin-to-slope systems, such correlations are essential to unravel shelf-to-basin transitions, characterize strike variability, and develop predictive sequence stratigraphic models—concepts that are currently poorly understood in these heterogeneous settings. The Canning Basin Chronostratigraphy Project integrates multiple independent data sets (including biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, stable isotope chemostratigraphy, and sequence stratigraphy) extracted from Upper Devonian (Frasnian and Famennian) reefal platform exposures along the Lennard Shelf, Canning Basin, Western Australia. These were used to generate a well-constrained stratigraphic framework and shelf-to-basin composite reconstruction of the carbonate system.

The resultant integrated framework allows for unprecedented analysis of carbonate margin-to-slope heterogeneity, depositional architecture, and sequence stratigraphy along the Lennard Shelf. Systems tract architecture, facies partitioning, and stacking patterns of margin to lower-slope environments were assessed for six composite-scale sequences that form part of a transgressive-to-regressive supersequence and span the Frasnian–Famennian (F–F) biotic crisis. Variations are apparent in margin styles, foreslope facies proportions, dominant resedimentation processes, downslope contributing sediment factories, and vertical rock successions, related to hierarchical accommodation signals and ecological changes associated with the F–F boundary. We present these results in the form of carbonate margin-to-basin sequence stratigraphic models and associations that link seismic-scale architecture to fine-scale facies heterogeneity. These models provide a predictive foundation for characterization of steep-sided flanks of reefal carbonate platform systems that is useful for both industry and academia. This study emphasizes the utility of an integrated stratigraphic approach and the insights gained from better-constrained facies and stratal architecture analysis, insights that were not achievable with traditional sequence stratigraphic or biostratigraphic techniques alone.

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