ABSTRACT

Two microbial mound-shaped carbonate bodies buried below the slope deposits of the middle Triassic Latemar platform (Dolomites, Italy) was studied. The two sedimentary bodies, after having reached different stages of evolution, drowned and were covered by the slopes of the Latemar carbonate platform. The estimation of the depth and time at which they were located when they were buried made it possible to infer the average rates of relative sea-level rise to which they were subjected, revealing that such rates exceeded the growth rate of the main Latemar buildup. Given the estimated rates of sea-level rise, the two satellite bodies reached a critical depth at which microbial carbonate production stops, or it is significantly reduced, before being buried. As extensional tectonics was active in the area of the Dolomites during the Anisian, subsidence is the more likely cause of sea level rise. It is therefore hypothesized that the cause of the ultimate drowning of the “mounds” were subsidence rates exceeding their aggradation potential and inducing a progressive deepening that brought them below the lower depth threshold of microbial carbonate production.

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