Sedimentation and facies analysis of theGirvanella-constituted oncolitic shoals and associated lithofacies in the middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone, central Nevada, USA

  • Ali Kaya
  • Gerald M. Friedman


InGirvanella-constituted oncolitic packstone and grainstone lithofacies of the Antelope Valley Limestone, ellipsoidal- or well-rounded,Girvanella oncoids along with thick-shelled gastropods (Maclurites andPalliseria) are the primary sediments. These particles are cemented by columnar calcite marine cement within the normal-graded, thin- to medium beds. These bedforms overlie one another with a sharp contact and constitute the grain-supported basal part of thick, massive lenticular bedforms. The basal amalgamated units are overlain by the upper packstone to wackestone subunits, which consist of evenly parallel silty quartz-rich laminae. All of the indicated sedimentary structures and textures represent moderately high energy, storm-dominated subtidal oncoidal shoals. Progressively abating, multiple high-energy pulses or storm events in these shoals probably resulted in the normal-graded, multiple thin to medium bedforms.

The presence of radial ooids with well rounded peloids in the uppermost parts of theGirvanella shoal bars suggests that the oncoidal shoal bars may have very briefly reached the tide-dominated depositional conditions, but such physical conditions probably did not persist for a long time. Thus, the subtidal oncoidal shoal bars represent a sedimentation below the fair weather-wave base. Moreover, the dark-grayGirvanella oncolitic shoal units are found in the westerly basinward localities, and they laterally grade eastward into the light-gray to tanNuia packstone- and_-grainstone units. These relations also suggest that the subtidalGirvanella oncoidal shoals formed in a relatively deeper, broader, and lower energy environment than that of the subtidalNuia shoals.

SubmergedGirvanella oncolitic shoal bars allowed strong storm currents to shoal at a siliciclastic-dominated, high-energy paleoshoreline environment. As a result, storm countercurrents transported fine siliciclastics basinward and deposited them as massive siltstone, rhythmical siltstone and lime mudstone interlayers, and silty quartz-rich, parallel-laminated lime mudstone in the shoreward shelf of a progressively shoaling-, well-circulated middle shelf.

Receptaculites bioherms are believed to have formed at the crests of oncoidal shoal bars. The affinity ofReceptaculites withGirvanella,Spharecodioum, andMaclurites andPalliseria suggests about 6 to 12 meters water depths forGirvanella oncoidal shoals in the locality of 10° south of the paleoequator during the deposition of the AVL.


Ordovician Lithofacies Microfacies Grainstone Wackestone 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Kaya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gerald M. Friedman
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Geology and School of EducationBrooklyn CollegeBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New YorkBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeologyBrooklyn College and Graduate School of the City University of New YorkBrooklynUSA
  4. 4.Rensselaer Center of Applied GeologyNortheastern Science Foundation affiliated with Brooklyn CollegeTroyUSA

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