Computer modeling provides a quantitative approach to a better understanding of actual carbonate cyclic sequences. To model carbonate cycles, we can use water-depth-dependent sedimentation rate for each facies, an initial lag time, linear subsidence, tidal range, and period and amplitude of sea-level oscillation about a horizontal datum. Tidal-flat-capped cycles up to a few metres thick result from low-amplitude sea-level oscillation of a few metres and short lag times. Nonerosive caps reflect sea-level lowering being balanced by subsidence, and basinward migration of the shoreline not exceeding tidal-flat progradation rate. When higher amplitude sea-level oscillations occur, the tidal flats are abandoned on the inner shelf during sea-level fall, because seaward movement of the strandline outpaces progradation rate of flats. Increased amplitude also results in sea level falling faster than flats can subside, so that disconformities with thick vadose profiles develop. High-amplitude (100 m or more) oscillations result in incipient drowning of platforms and juxtaposition of deep-water facies against shallow-water facies within cycles. Sea level falls before the platform can build to the sea-level highstand, and the shoreline migrates much more rapidly than tidal flats can prograde; thus, cycles are disconformity-bounded and lack tidal-flat caps.

You do not currently have access to this article.