, 64:9 | Cite as

Facies mosaic in the inner areas of a shallow carbonate ramp (Upper Jurassic, Higueruelas Fm, NE Spain)

  • C. Sequero
  • B. Bádenas
  • M. Aurell
Original Article


The internal facies and sedimentary architecture of an Upper Jurassic inner carbonate ramp were reconstructed after the analysis and correlation of 14 logs in a 1 × 2 km outcrop area around the Mezalocha locality (south of Zaragoza, NE Spain). The studied interval is 10–16 m thick and belongs to the upper part of the uppermost Kimmeridgian–lower Tithonian Higueruelas Fm. On the basis of texture and relative proportion of the main skeletal and non-skeletal components, 6 facies and 12 subfacies were differentiated, which record subtidal (backshoal/washover, sheltered lagoon and pond/restricted lagoon) to intertidal subenvironments. The backshoal/washover subenvironment is characterized by peloidal wackestone–packstone and grainstone. The lagoon subenvironment includes oncolitic, stromatoporoid, and oncolitic-stromatoporoid (wackestone and packstone) facies. The intertidal subenvironment is represented by peloidal mudstone and packstone–grainstone with fenestral porosity. Gastropod-oncolitic (wackestone–packstone and grainstone) facies with intercalated marl may reflect local ponds in the intertidal or restricted lagoon subenvironments. Detailed facies mapping allowed us to document 7 sedimentary units within a general shallowing-upward trend, which reflect a mosaic distribution, especially for stromatoporoid and fenestral facies, with facies patches locally more than 500 m in lateral extent. External and internal factors controlled this heterogeneity, including resedimentation, topographic relief and substrate stability, combined with variations in sea-level. This mosaic facies distribution provides useful tools for more precise reconstructions of depositional heterogeneities, and this variability must be taken into account in order to obtain a solid sedimentary framework at the kilometer scale.


Carbonate ramp Facies mosaic Intertidal Sheltered lagoon Higueruelas Fm Upper Jurassic 



This paper was funded by projects CGL2014-53548-P and CGL2017-85038-P of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the H54 Research Group-IUCA Aragosaurus: recursos geológicos y paleoambientes, supported by the Gobierno de Aragón and the European Social Fund. The research of Cristina Sequero is funded by a FPU Grant (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation). We are grateful for the revision that has been done by Michele Morsilli, an anonymous reviewer and the Editor-in-Chief, Maurice Tucker. We also thank Rupert Glasgow for accepting to review the English quality.


  1. Al-Awwad SF, Collins LB (2013) Arabian carbonate reservoirs: a depositional model of the Arab-D reservoir in Khurais field, Saudi Arabia. Am Assoc Pet Geol 97:1099–1119Google Scholar
  2. Al-Saad H, Ibrahim M (2005) Facies and palynofacies characteristics of the Upper Jurassic Arab D reservoir in Qatar. Rev Paléobiol 24(1):225–241Google Scholar
  3. Amour F, Mutti M, Christ N, Immenhauser A, Agar SM, Benson GS, Tomás S, Always R, Kabiri L (2011) Capturing and modelling metre-scale spatial facies heterogeneity in a Jurassic ramp setting (Central High Atlas, Morocco). Sedimentology 59:1158–1189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aurell M, Meléndez A (1986) Sedimentología de la Formación Calizas con oncolitos de Higueruelas (Malm) en la región de Muel-Belchite (Provincia de Zaragoza). Acta Geol Hisp 21–22:307–312Google Scholar
  5. Aurell M, Meléndez A (1987) Las bioconstrucciones de corales y sus facies asociadas durante el Mal en la Cordillera Ibérica Central (prov. De Zaragoza). Estud Geol 43:261–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aurell M, Mas R, Meléndez A, Salas R (1994) El tránsito Jurásico-Cretácico en la Cordillera Ibérica: relación tectónica-sedimentación y evolución paleogeográfica. Cuad Geol Ibérica 18:369–396Google Scholar
  7. Aurell M, Meléndez G, Olóriz F, Bádenas B, Caracuel J, García-Ramos JC, Goy A, Linares A, Quesada S, Robles S, Rodríguez-Tovar FJ, Rosales I, Sandoval J, Suárez de Centi C, Tavera JM, Valenzuela M (2002) The geology of Spain. Geological Society, London, pp 213–254Google Scholar
  8. Aurell M, Robles S, Bádenas B, Rosales I, Quesada S, Meléndez G, García-Ramos JC (2003) Transgressive-regressive cycles and Jurassic palaeogeography of northeast Iberia. Sediment Geol 162:239–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Aurell M, Bádenas B, Ipas J, Ramajo J (2010) Sedimentary evolution of an Upper Jurassic epeiric carbonate ramp Iberian Basin NE Spain. In: Buchem FSP, Gerdes KD, Esteban M (eds) Mesozoic and Cenozoic carbonate systems of the Mediterranean and the Middle East: stratigraphic and diagenetic reference models, vol 329. Geological Society, Special Publications, London, pp 89–111Google Scholar
  10. Aurell M, Ipas J, Bádenas B, Muñoz A (2012) Distribución de facies con corales y estromatopóridos en el dominio interno de una plataforma carbonatada (Titónico, Cordillera Ibérica). Geogaceta 51:67–70Google Scholar
  11. Ayoub R, En Nadi IM (2000) Stratigraphic framework and reservoir development of the Upper Jurassic in Abu Dhabi area, UAE. In: Alsharhan AS, Scott RW (eds) Middle East Models of Jurassic/Cretaceous carbonate system, vol 69. SEPM Society for Sedimentary, Tulsa, pp 229–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bádenas B, Aurell M (2001) Kimmeridgian palaeogeography and basin evolution of northeastern Iberia. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 168:291–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bádenas B, Aurell M (2010) Facies models of a shallow-water carbonate ramp based on distribution of non-skeletal grains (Kimmeridgian, Spain). Facies 56:89–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bádenas B, Aurell M, Rodríguez-Tovar FJ, Pardo-Igúzquiza E (2003) Sequence stratigraphy and bedding rhythms of an outer ramp limestone succession (Late Kimmeridgian, Northeast Spain). Sediment Geol 161:153–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bádenas B, Aurell M, Bosence D (2010) Continuity and facies heterogeneities of shallow carbonate ramp cycles (Sinemurian, Lower Jurassic, North-east Spain). Sedimentology 57:1021–1048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Burchette TP, Wright VP (1992) Carbonate ramp depositional systems. Sediment Geol 79:3–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Burgess PM, Emery DJ (2004) Sensitive dependence, divergence and unpredictable behaviour in a stratigraphic forward model of a carbonate system. In: Curtis A, Wood R (eds) Geological prior information: informing science and engineering, vol 239. Geological Society, Special Publications, London, pp 77–94Google Scholar
  18. Burgess PM, Wright VP (2003) Numerical forward modeling of carbonate platform dynamics: an evaluation of complexity and completeness in carbonate strata. J Sediment Res 73(5):637–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cepriá JJ, Bádenas B, Aurell M (2002) Evolución sedimentaria y paleogeografía del Jurásico Superior (Kimmeridgiense superior-Titónico) en la Sierra de Arcos (Cordillera Ibérica). J Iber Geol 28:93–106Google Scholar
  20. Christ N, Immenhauser A, Amour F, Mutti M, Tomás S, Agar SM, Always R, Kabiri L (2012) Characterization and interpretation of discontinuity surfaces in a Jurassic ramp setting (High Atlas, Morocco). Sedimentology 59:249–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dahanayake K (1977) Classification of oncoids from the Upper Jurassic carbonates of the French Jura. Sediment Geol 18:337–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Della Porta G, Kenter JAM, Immenhauser A, Bahamonde J (2002) Lithofacies character and architecture across a Pennsylvanian inner-platform transect (Sierra de Cuera, Asturias, Spain). J Sediment Res 72:898–916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dercourt J, Ricou L, Vrielynck B (1993) Atlas Tethys palaeoenvironmental maps. CCGM, ParisGoogle Scholar
  24. Drummond CN, Wilkinson BH (1993) Aperiodic accumulation of cyclic peritidal carbonate. Geology 21:1023–1026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dunham RJ (1962) Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional texture. Am Assoc Pet Geol Mem 1:108–121Google Scholar
  26. Dupraz C, Strasser A (1999) Microbialites and micro-encrusters in shallow coral bioherms (Middle to Late Oxfordian, Swiss Jura mountains). Facies 40:101–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Flügel E (1974) Fazies-Interpretation der Cladocoropsis-Kalke (Malm) auf Karaburun, W-Anatolien. Arch Lagerstätt-Forsch Ostalpen Sd-Bd 2:79–94Google Scholar
  28. Flügel E (2004) Microfacies of carbonate rocks: analysis, interpretation and application. Springer, Berlin, p 976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ginsburg RN (1971) Landward movement of carbonate mud: new model for progressive cycles in carbonates. AAPG Bull 55:340Google Scholar
  30. Gischler E, Lomando AJ (1999) Recent sedimentary facies of isolated carbonate platforms, Belize-Yucatan system, Central America. J Sediment Res 69(3):747–763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Goldhammer RK, Dunn PA, Hardie LA (1990) Depositional cycles, composite sea-level changes, cycle stacking patterns, and the hierarchy of stratigraphic forcing: examples from Alpine Triassic platform carbonates. Geol Soc Am Bull 102:535–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grötsch J, Suwaina O, Ajlani G, Taher A, El-Khassawneh R, Lokier S, Coy G, van der Weerd E, Masalmeh S, van Dorp J (2003) The Arab Formation in central Abu Dhabi: 3-D reservoir architecture and static and dynamic modelling. GeoArabia Gulf PetroLink Bahrain 8(1):47–86Google Scholar
  33. Hernández-Samaniego A, Ramírez-Merino JI (2005) Mapa Geológico y Memoria explicativa, Hoja Escala 1:50.000 de Longares (411). In: IGME (ed), pp 97Google Scholar
  34. Hillgärtner H (2006) High-resolution correlation in Cretaceous platform carbonates of the Middle East: rules to solve the puzzle? In: AAPG European Region conference: Architecture of carbonate systems through time, Mallorca 2006, Program Book 26Google Scholar
  35. Ipas J, Aurell M, Bádenas B (2004) Ambientes sedimentarios y secuencias en la Fm. Higueruelas (Jurásico Superior) en la Cordillera Ibérica Septentrional. Geogaceta 35:7–10Google Scholar
  36. Ipas J, Aurell M, Bádenas B, Canudo JI, Liesa C, Mas JR, Soria AR (2007) Caracterización de la Formación Villar del Arzobispo al sur de Zaragoza (Titónico, Cordillera Ibérica). Geogaceta 41:111–114Google Scholar
  37. Jones B, Desrochers A (1992) Shallow platform carbonates. In: Walker RG, James NP (eds) Facies models: response to sea level change. Geol Assocs Can, St. John’s, pp 277–301Google Scholar
  38. Kerans C, Tinker SW (1997) Sequence stratigraphy and characterization of carbonate reservoirs: SEMP Short Courses Notes 40. SEMP, Tulsa, p 130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lehmann CT, Al Hosany KI, Matarid T, Sayed MI (2010) Addressing reservoir heterogeneities in the Development of Upper Jurassic Carbonate Reservoirs, offshore Abu Dhabi. Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE 137888, Abu DhabiCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lehrmann DJ, Goldhammer RK (1999) Secular variations in parasequence and facies stacking patterns of platform carbonates: a guide to application of stacking-patterns analysis in strata of diverse ages and settings. In: Harris PM, Saller AH, Simo JA (eds) Advances in carbonate sequence stratigraphy: application to reservoirs, outcrops, and models, vol 63. SEPM Special Publication, Tulsa, pp 187–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Leinfelder RR, Nose M, Schmid D, Werner M (1993) Microbial crusts of the Late Jurassic: composition, palaeoecological significance and importance in reef construction. Facies 29:195–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Leinfelder RR, Schlagintweit F, Werner W, Ebli O, Nose M, Schmid D, Hughes G (2005) Significance of stromatoporoids in Jurassic reefs and carbonate platforms—concepts and implications. Facies 51:287–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. MacNeil AJ, Jones B (2016) Stromatoporoid growth forms and Devonian reef fabrics in the Upper Devonian Alexandra Reef System, Canada—insight on the challenges of applying Devonian reef facies models. Sedimentology 63:1425–1457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marchionda E, Deschamps R, Gobianchi M, Nader FH, Di Giulio A, Morad DJ, Al Darmaki F, Ceriani A (2018) Field-scale depositional evolution of the Upper Jurassic Arab Formation (onshore Abu Dhabi, UAE). Mar Pet Geol 89:350–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Muñoz A, Arenas C, González A, Luzón A, Pardo G, Pérez A, Villena J (2002) Ebro Basin (northeastern Spain). In: Gibbons W, Moreno MT (eds) The geology of Spain. Geological Society, London, pp 301–309Google Scholar
  46. Pomar L (2001) Types of carbonate platforms: a genetic approach. Basin Res 13:313–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pomar L, Aurell M, Bádenas B, Morsilli M, Al-Awwad SF (2015) Depositional model for a prograding oolitic wedge, Upper Jurassic, Iberian basin. Mar Pet Geol 67:556–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pratt BR, James NP (1986) The St. George Group (Lower Ordovician) of western Newfoundland: tidal flat island model for carbonate sedimentation in shallow epeiric seas. Sedimentology 33:313–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rankey EC (2002) Spatial patterns of sediment accumulation on a Holocene carbonate tidal flat Northwest Andros Island, Bahamas. J Sediment Res 72:591–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rankey EC (2016) On facies belts and facies mosaics: Holocene isolated platforms, South China Sea. Sedimentology 63:2190–2216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rankey EC, Reeder SL (2010) Controls on platform-scale patterns of surface sediments, shallow Holocene platforms, Bahamas. Sedimentology 57:1545–1565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Read JF (1985) Carbonate platform facies models. AAPG Bull 69:1–21Google Scholar
  53. Riegl B, Piller WE (1999) Coral frameworks revisited-reefs and corals carpets in the northern Red Sea. Coral Reefs 18:241–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. San Miguel G, Aurell M, Beatriz B (2017) Occurrence of high-diversity metazoan- to microbial-dominated bioconstructions in a shallow Kimmeridgian carbonate ramp (Jabaloyas, Spain). Facies 63:13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sandström O, Kershaw S (2002) Ludlow (Silurian) stromatoporoid biostromes from Gotland, Sweden: facies, depositional models and modern analogues. Sedimentology 49:379–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schlager W (2000) Sedimentation rates and growth potential of tropical, cool water and mud mound carbonate factories. In: Insalaco E, Skelton PW, Palmer TJ (eds) Carbonate platform systems: components and interactions, vol 178. Geology Society Special Publications, London, pp 217–227Google Scholar
  57. Schlager W (2003) Benthic carbonate factories of the Phanerozoic. Int J Earth Sci 92:445–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Shinn EA (1968) Practical significance of birdseye structures in carbonate rocks. J Sediment Petrol 38:215–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Strasser A (1984) Black-pebble occurrence and genesis in Holocene carbonate sediments (Florida Keys, Bahamas, and Tunisia). J Sediment Petrol 54(4):1097–1109Google Scholar
  60. Strasser A (1986) Ooids in Purbeck limestones (lowermost Cretaceous) of the Swiss and French Jura. Sedimentology 33:711–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Strasser A (1991) Lagoonal-peritidal sequences in carbonate environments: autocyclic and allocyclic processes. In: Einsele G, Ricken W, Seilacher A (eds) Cycles and events in stratigraphy. Springer, Berlin, pp 709–721Google Scholar
  62. Strasser A, Védrine S (2009) Controls on facies mosaics of carbonate platforms: a case study from the Oxfordian of the Swiss Jura. In: Special publication of the International Association of Sedimentologists, vol 41, pp 199–213Google Scholar
  63. Strasser A, Pittet B, Hillgärtner H, Pasquier JB (1999) Depositional sequences in shallow carbonate-dominated sedimentary systems: concepts for a high-resolution analysis. Sediment Geol 128:201–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Turnsek D, Buser S, Ogorelec B (1981) An Upper Jurassic reef complex from Slovenia, Yugoslavia. In: Toomey DF (ed) European fossil reef models, vol 30. SEPM Special Publications, Tulsa, pp 361–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Védrine S, Strasser A, Hug W (2007) Oncoid growth and distribution controlled by sea-level fluctuations and climate (Late Oxfordian, Swiss Jura Mountains). Facies 53(4):535–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Verwer K, Della Porta G, Merino-Tomé O, Kenter JAM (2009) Control and predictability of carbonate facies architecture in a Lower Jurassic three-dimensional barrier-shoal complex (Djebel Bou Dahar, High Atlas, Morocco). Sedimentology 56:1801–1831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wilkinson BH, Drummond CN (2004) Facies mosaic across the Persian Gulf and around Antigua—stochastic and deterministic products of shallow-water sediment accumulation. J Sediment Res 74:513–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wilkinson BH, Diedrich NW, Drummond CN (1996) Facies succession in peritidal carbonate sequences. J Sediment Res 66:1065–1078Google Scholar
  69. Wilson JL (1975) Carbonate facies in geologic history. Springer, New York, p 471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wright VP, Burgess PM (2005) The carbonate factory continuum, facies mosaic and microfacies: an appraisal of some of the key concepts underpinning carbonate sedimentology. Facies 51:17–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento Ciencias de la Tierra-IUCAUniversidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain

Personalised recommendations