Abstract

The Much Wenlock Limestone Formation of the West Midlands was deposited in a mid-shelf setting and is divisible into three members; the Upper and Lower Quarried Limestone members being separated by the more argillaceous Nodular Limestone Member. Oncoids, composed predominantly of micritic fabrics with Rothpletzella and Girvanella, occur commonly in the Lower Quarried Limestone Member. These oncoids vary from subspherical bodies up to 5 mm in diameter to forms with a highly irregular and branched upper surface which reach 70 mm across. Each form is indicative of a different depositional environment, which is also reflected in the sediment enclosing the oncoid. Equidimensional oncoids in peloidal packstones were formed by continuous rolling, whereas the larger, branched forms enclosed in loosely packed wackestones developed in quieter conditions below wave base. The distribution of oncoid morphotypes in the Lower Quarried Limestone Member shows that small variations in relative sea level were superimposed on the overall middle to late Wenlock regressive episode during which the Much Wenlock Limestone Formation was deposited. The uniformity of the formation throughout the West Midlands indicates that the sea floor was essentially planar over a large area. Vertical variation of oncoid morphology within the Lower Quarried Limestone Member can be traced throughout the area, allowing accurate correlation of relative sea-level variations.

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