Abstract

Petrographic fabrics have long been used to identify meteoric diagenesis of carbonate sediments. However, on the basis of oxygen isotopic data, we document similar fabrics forming in marine pore fluids in the shallow subsurface of Great Bahama Bank. Therefore, petrographic fabrics alone are not reliable indicators of diagenetic environments, even for shallow-water sediments. In our study, skeletal grainstones show two distinct diagenetic assemblages: either dissolution of aragonitic grains and minimal cementation (high-permeability intervals) or abundant blocky spar cement and neomorphism of aragonitic skeletal grains (low-permeability intervals). These marine-burial fabrics are present as shallow as 110 m below sea level, well above the aragonite compensation depth, a feature that must be considered for models of diagenesis in ancient carbonate sediments. Marine-burial diagenesis may be important in ancient carbonate sediments deposited in moderate water depths or in shallow water during rising sea level where meteoric diagenesis is suppressed.

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