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Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 77–92 | Cite as

A biodetrital coral mound complex: Key to early diagenetic processes in the Mississippian Bangor Limestone

  • Douglas W. Haywick
  • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
  • Michael G. Bersch
Article
  • 93 Downloads

Abstract

The Bangor Limestone is a Mississippian (Chesterian) shallow marine carbonate formation exposed over a large portion of the Interior Low Plateaus province of northern Alabama. It is dominated by oolitic grainstone and skeletal wackestone and packstone, but in one outcrop near Moulton, Alabama, the Bangor contains a five m thick, 25 m wide, oolite-biodetrital mound-tidal flat succession. This sequence is interpreted as a 4th order sea level cycle.

Four petrofacies (oolite, mound, skeletal and mudstone/dolomicrite) and four diagenetic phases (iron oxide, fibrous calcite cement, calcite spar cement and dolomite) are distinguished at the study site. Iron oxide, a minor component, stained and/or coated some ooids, intraclasts and skeletal components in the oolite petrofacies. Many of the allochems were stained prior to secondary cortical growth suggesting a short period of subaerial exposure during oolite sedimentation. The oolite petrofacies also contains minor amounts of fibrous calcite cement, a first generation marine cement, and rare infiltrated micrite that might represent a second phase of marine cement, or a first phase of meteoric cement (i.e., “vadose silt”) (Dunham 1969). Intergranular pore space in all four petrofacies is filled with up to three phases of meteoric calcite spar cement. The most complete record of meteoric cementation is preserved within coralline void spaces in the mound petrofacies and indicates precipitation in the following order: (1) non-ferroan scalenohedral spar, (2) ferroan drusy spar (0.1–0.4 wt% Fe2+) and (3) non-ferroan drusy spar. The first scalenohedral phase of meteoric cement is distributed throughout the oolite and mound petrofacies. The ferroan phase of meteoric,calcite is a void-filling cement that is abundant in the mound petrofacies and less common in the skeletal and mudstone/dolomicrite petrofacies. Non-ferroan drusy calcite is pervasive throughout the Bangor Limestone at the Moulton study site.

Growth of the fourth diagenetic phase, dolomite, was the dominant event in the micrite/dolomicrite petrofacies, particularly just below an irregular surface overlain by a brecciated interval. The irregular surface is interpreted as an exposure surface. Three phases of dolomite occur below the exposure surface. The majority is finely crystalline, anhedral, and enriched in Si4+, criteria which support a supratidal or mixed hypersaline έteoric origin. Secondary phases of coarser euhedral non-ferroan and ferroan dolomite are restricted to fenestrae and other voids in the micrite/dolomicrite petrofacies and were precipitated during subsequent meteoric diagenesis.

Diagenesis of the Bangor Limestone at the Moulton outcrop was dominated by synsedimentary and very early meteoric processes driven by periods of subaerial exposure. Large voids within the mound petrofacies were particularly important, as they remained open long enough to record a more detailed early meteoric cement stratigraphy that might not be evident in Bangor Limestone outcrops elsewhere in Alabama.

Keywords

Bangor Limestone ooids cementation eustasy Mississippian Carboniferous 

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Copyright information

© Northeasten Science Foundation 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas W. Haywick
    • 1
  • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
    • 2
  • Michael G. Bersch
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of South AlabamaMobileCanada
  2. 2.Geological Survey of AlabamaTuscaloosaCanada
  3. 3.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaCanada

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