Abstract

A numerical computer model is described that calculates the internal architecture of carbonate platforms in response to varying values of carbonate production, subaerial and submarine erosion, sediment redeposition, and sea-level changes. The computer-generated sections closely resemble large-scale outcrops and interpreted seismic profiles through carbonate platforms. Stillstand and transgressive sequences have prograding and downlapping platform geometries with lagoons developing in transgressive systems. Regressive sequences have downlapping clinoforms and erosional upper surfaces. Glacioeustatic scale cycles have a major control on platform geometry with erosional sequence boundaries developing during low stands and platform drowning occurring during transgressive periods. Lowstand downlapping wedges are minor features when compared with clastic systems, and major progradation and downlap of slope deposits develop with transgressions and flooding of platform tops. Carbonate erosion rates are varied and have an important effect on the morphology of foodback surfaces, which have a major control on platform top production. The computer program contributes to the analysis of carbonate systems in two ways: it gives a visual picture of the quantitative effects of the many parameters controlling carbonate geometries, and it aids quantitative analysis of the architectures and time scales of ancient outcrop or seismic sequences.

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