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Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 276–295 | Cite as

Sedimentation and significance of theNuia-bearing units in the Lower Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone (AVL): In central Nevada, USA

  • Ali Kaya
  • Gerald M. Friedman
Article

Abstract

In central Nevada, theNuia pack- and grainstone lithofacies constitute the lower cliffs of the Lower Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone (AVL). In these pack- and grainstone units,Nuia, a problematic alga, is the primary kind of particle. TheNuia pack- and grainstone lithofacies occur in the lower intervals of the AVL and are interpreted to represent the algal subtidal shoal bars. We believe that these shoals may have formed in a N-S extending, nearly flat shelf margin where theNuia subtidal shoal bars left behind a progressively shoaling, restricted-deep middle shelf.

TheNuia meadow, a main sediment-producing natural factory, is interpreted to have occurred mainly in an environment ranging from the open seaward-extended flanks to the crests of these subtidalNuia bars. The energy level of these shoals is interpreted to have ranged from moderately high to high; this magnitude was much higher than that of theGirvanella-dominated depositional sites. Thus,Girvanella-flourished environments were probably located at the protected sites of the subtidalNuia shoals. At these depositional sites, the high-turbulence and-agitation level of theNuia shoals inhibited the blue-green algaeGirvanella to grow and flourish.

However,Girvanella andNuia coexist in otherNuia-bearing lithofacies of mid- and open shelves. It is likely to suggest thatNuia particles may have been transported from theNuia meadow to open seaward and leeward by wave and current activities. On the other hand, in theNuia-rich oncoidal packstone lithofacies, the multiwall-structuredNuia particles occur as the predominant nuclei ofGirvanella-constituted oncoids. This suggests that the multiwall-structuredNuia may have preferably flourished in theGirvanella-dominated soft substrate. Therefore, these kinds ofNuia probably represent a differentNuia species than those primarily inhabited in theNuia shoals.

Fine siliciclastic sediments are closely related to theNuia-bearing lithofacies of open and mid-shelf facies and to theNuia shoal bars at the upperNuia shoal cycles. At these intervals, upward progressively thinningNuia shoal bars represent the basal component of the shoal cycles and are directly overlain by thicker fine siliciclastics. We believe that these relations resulted from short durational, high-amplitude sea-level rises which induced incipiently drownedNuia shoals. Consequently, drowned-Nuia shoal bars allowed fine siliciclasties to advance farther open scaward.

The bedforms and textures of theNuia pack- and-grainstone lithofacies suggest a storm- and-tide-dominated shoal facies. However, the absence of ooids and oolitic sediments in theNuia-dominated shoals can be attributed to (1) a nearly flat, wide-shelf margin, and (2) a high-sediment production rate ofNuia. Therefore,Nuia shoal units, with indicated bedforms, predominant sediment type, and with their relations with fine siliciclastics, can probably be analogous to the modernHalimeda subtidal sand bars in southern Florida (Shinn el al. 1990).

Keywords

Ordovician Lithofacies Grainstone Wackestone Peloids 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Kaya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gerald M. Friedman
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Geology and School of Education of Brooklyn CollegeBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of the City University of New YorkBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Brooklyn College and Graduate School of the City University of New YorkBrooklyn
  4. 4.Northeastern Science Foundation affiliated with Brooklyn CollegeTroyUSA
  5. 5.City University of New York, Rensselaer Center of Applied GeologyTroyUSA

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