We investigated pinnacle features at the base of late Oligocene−Miocene isolated carbonate buildups using three-dimensional seismic and borehole data from the Browse Basin, Northwest Australia. Brightened seismic reflections, dim spots, and other evidence of fluid accumulation occur below most pinnacle features. An important observation is that all pinnacles generated topography on successive late Oligocene−Miocene paleo-seafloors, therefore forming preferential zones for the settlement of reef-building organisms by raising the paleo-seafloor into the photic zone. Their height ranges from 31 m to 174 m, for a volume varying from 33 km3 to 11,105 km3. Most of the pinnacles, however, are less than 2000 km3 in volume and present heights of 61−80 m. As a result of this work, pinnacles are explained as the first patch reefs formed in association with mud volcanoes or methanogenic carbonates, and they are considered as precluding the growth of the larger isolated carbonate buildups. We postulate that pinnacle features above fluid-flow conduits demonstrate a valid seep-reef relationship, and we propose them to be refined diagnostic features for understanding fluid flow through geological time.
Pinnacle features at the base of isolated carbonate buildups marking point sources of fluid offshore Northwest Australia
James Van Tuyl
Tiago M. Alves
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James Van Tuyl, Tiago M. Alves, Lesley Cherns; Pinnacle features at the base of isolated carbonate buildups marking point sources of fluid offshore Northwest Australia. GSA Bulletin doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B31838.1
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