The Carboniferous, particularly during the Serpukhovian and Bashkirian time, was a period of scarce shallow-water calcimicrobial-microbialite reef growth. Organic frameworks developed on high-rising platforms are, however, recorded in the Precaspian Basin subsurface, Kazakhstan, Russia, Japan and Spain and represent uncommon occurrences within the general trend of low accumulation rates and scarcity of shallow-water reefs. Sierra del Cuera (Cantabrian Mountains, N Spain) is a well-exposed high-rising carbonate platform of Late Carboniferous (Bashkirian-Moscovian) age with a microbial boundstone-dominated slope dipping from 20° up to 45°. Kilometer-scale continuous exposures allow the detailed documentation of slope geometry and lithofacies spatial distribution. This study aims to develop a depositional model of steep-margined Late Paleozoic platforms built by microbial carbonates and to contribute to the understanding of the controlling factors on lithofacies characteristics, stacking patterns, accumulation rates and evolution of the depositional architecture of systems, which differ from light-dependent coralgal platform margins. From the platform break to depths of nearly 300 m, the slope is dominated by massive cement-rich boundstone, which accumulated through the biologically induced precipitation of micrite. Boundstone facies (type A) with peloidal carbonate mud, fenestellid and fistuliporid bryozoans, sponge-like molds and primary cavities filled by radiaxial fibrous cement occurs all over the slope but dominates the deeper settings. Type B boundstone consists of globose centimeter-scale laminated accretionary structures, which commonly host botryoidal cement in growth cavities. The laminae nucleate around fenestellid bryozoans, sponges, Renalcis and Girvanella-like filaments. Type B boundstone typically occurs at depths between 20-150 m to locally more than 300 m and forms the bulk of the Bashkirian prograding slope. The uppermost slope boundstone (type C; between 0 and 20-100 m depth) includes peloidal micrite, radiaxial fibrous cement, bryozoans, sponge molds, Donezella, Renalcis, Girvanella, Ortonella, calcareous algae and calcitornellid foraminifers. From depths of 80-200 m to 450 m, 1-30 m thick lenses of crinoidal packstone, spiculitic wackestone, and bryozoan biocementstone with red-stained micrite matrix are episodically intercalated with boundstone and breccias. These layers increase in number from the uppermost Bashkirian to the Moscovian in parallel with the change from a rapidly prograding to an aggrading architecture. The red-stained strata share comparable features with Lower Carboniferous deeper-water mud-mound facies and were deposited during relative rises of sea level and pauses in boundstone production. Rapid relative sea-level rises might have been associated with changes in oceanographic conditions not favourable for the calcimicrobial boundstone growth, such as upwelling of colder, nutrient-rich waters lifting the thermocline to depths of 80-200 m. Downslope of 150-300 m, boundstones interfinger with layers of matrix-free breccias, lenses of matrix-rich breccias, platform- and slope-derived grainstone and crinoidal packstone. Clast-supported breccias bound by radiaxial cement are produced by rock falls and avalanches coeval to boundstone growth. Matrix-rich breccias are debris flow deposits triggered by the accumulation of red-stained layers. Debris flows develop following the relative sea-level rises, which favour the deposition of micrite-rich lithofacies on the slope rather than being related to relative sea-level falls and subaerial exposures. The steep slope angles are the result of in situ growth and rapid stabilization by marine cement in the uppermost part, passing into a detrital talus, which rests at the angle of repose of noncohesive material. In the Moscovian, the aggradational architecture and steeper clinoforms are the result of increased accommodation space due to tectonic subsidence and due to a reduction of slope accumulation rates (from 240±45-605±35 m/My to 130±5 m/My).
|Titolo:||Microbial boundstone dominated carbonate slope (Upper Carboniferous, N Spain): microfacies, lithofacies distribution and stratal geometry.|
|Parole Chiave:||Geometry; Microbial boundstone; Microfacies; Spain; Steep carbonate slope; Upper Carboniferous|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2003|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1007/s10347-003-0031-0|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|