The margins of Great Bahama Bank, with more open circulation, are rimmed by coral reefs, ooid shoals, or coralgal sands. The interior of the platform, which is subject to poorer water circulation and shielded from predominantly easterly winds by Andros Island, is covered by lime muds and pelleted muds. The more open shelves intermediate between the platform margin and interior are sites of grapestone deposition. As the energy is focused along the margins of the platforms, the facies are more variable there than in the interiors. The margins can be classified as windward-, leeward-, or tide-dominated (Hine and others 1981). The windward margins are the most complex: reefs and associated skeletal sands form along open margins; tidal deltas are associated with interisland gaps; wide belts of tidal bars form in re-entrants; and skeletal sands may be transported seaward. Leeward, open margins are dominated by offbank sand transport. These margins are characterized along their edges by wide belts or sheets of nonskeletal sands. Finally, large tidal-bar belts commonly form at the ends of embayments, where tidal currents are more rapid. Deposition of Holocene, shallow-platform carbonates in 31 0 1986 Colorado School of Mines + – MANGROVE SUPRATIDAL FL4TS – S O U T H F L O R I D A S H A L L O W SHELF I N N E R SHELF- /MUDBANK -MUDBANK – SLOPE- —SHALLOW INNER S H E L F MARGIN – – – L O U T E R 1 I SHELF MARGIN I S H A L L O W EVERGLADES SEA LEVEL – -MUDBANK ISLAND B A Y FLORIDA BbY. 0ISCAYNE BAY, CARD SOUND. ETC. * T H I S nARu1cu 1s LOCALLY A M U D BANK. E.G FLORIDA- IFLORIDA KEYS B I s c n r N E FLATS H A W K C H A N N E L I W H I T E , 5 , ! B A N K , , 0 KILOMETERS – GOF FEET )OM ONE MILE “> Figure 40.-Bathymetry of South Florida shelf ( h m Enos and Perkins 1977). See m SEA LEVEL e 39. TRACES OF REFLECTION PROFILES ( 4 0 X) Figure 41.-Bathymetric chart of the Bahama banks (&om Ginsburg and James 1974a). South Florida and the Bahamas did not begin until the margins and flat-topped interiors of the platfbrms were submerged during the latest rise in sea level. The submergence curve of Scholl and others (1969) for South Florida suggests that the rise in sea level has slowed from 30 cm in 250 years between 5500 and 3500 y.b.p. to less than 30 cm in the last 1000 years. Based on data from stable areas of the world (Shepard 1963), the Florida curve represents the tail end of a flooding event that began as early as 15,000 y.b.p. (figure 43). The facies succession, as revealed by coring of modern environments. is a function of changes in the rates of sea-level rise and sedikentation. Such relati; sea-level changes may be the products of eustatic fluctuations, but may also be a response lo subsidence or uplift. ~elative’sea-level’rise has an odvious effect on the sediment type and nature of deposition; the rate and extent of relative sea-level fall markedly affect the diagenesis and erosion of carbonate sequences. Shoaling-upward cycles in carbonates are common in stable platforms and shelves (James 1979a). The shelf interior has few complete shoaling-upward cycles because hiatuses are com- mon and not all sea-level rises extend all the way across the shelf interior. In contrast, shelf-margin and basin centers may lack shallow-water sediments because subsidence was so rapid that evidence of the progradation cycles is obscured. Thus, where subsidence was extremely fast, as on a basin margin immediately following continental breakup, cycles can be hidden by rapid subsidence. Instead of the asymmetric shoaling-upward cycles common to stable shelves, symmetrical shoaling and deepening cycles might be produced. Reefs and organic buildups commonly form where there is a break in slope on the seafloor (figure 44),or landward of this break, within the slightly deeper water of pladorm interiors and epeiric settings. Most reefs and buildups are either continuous and parallel to the depositional strike of the shelf edge or a series of isolated buildups on either side of the shelf break. I I 1 I 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 YFARS BEFORE ‘A 90 PRESENT Figure 43.-Holocene sea-level curve for South Florida ( h m Enos and Perkins 1977). Figure 42.–Sediment distribution patterns on Great Bahama Bank (Purdy 1963). B a k r Re$ and MuItSkeletal Banks Reefs and mud-skeletal buildups are best developed where open marine waters shoal against a basin margin. The slope of the seafloor on which the buildup grows is controlled by antecedent topography, faultingor the juxtaposition of active shallowwater accumulation and deeper-basin starvation. Barrier reefs tend to be massive, but have associated, discontinuous, thin beds of sediment. Reef geometry is expressed as thick sheets or ribbons that parallel depositional strike. The major subenvironmentsare the reef frame (the reef crest and seaward wall), seaward reef apron, back reef, and barrier islands (sand cays). Reefs act as sediment sources for areas both landward and seaward. Major reef contributors through geologic time have included cords, stromatoporoids, calcareous sponges, algae, and rudists. Associated fauna are very diverse. (See James and Macintyre 1985.) The reef frame is characterizedby in situ growth of calcareous organisms interbedded with calcareous sands, silts, and muds that form as the result of bioerosion and e p i s d c storms (figure 45). The frame is usually massive and cavernous, with voids filled by bladed and fibrous marine cements and by internal sediment that is commonly perched on or within these cements. Within the reef crest, the skeletal fi-amework may vary from 20 to 80 percent of the rock volume, with a reciprocal distribution of sediment-cement infill. The reef apron is composed of silt- to boulder-sized debris derived from the reef frame and mixed with in situ fore-reef biota. It typically has a chaotic texture, but may locally exhibit cross-bedding. Many cited examples of Holocene fore-reef and upper-basin slope deposits contain huge blocks of reef rock that slumped from the cW-like fore-reef face. Precipitous forereef slopes are characteristic of Quaternary and Holocene reefs, which owe much of their relief to antecedent topography. Similar fore-reef cliffs occur in the Upper Devonian of the Canning Basin in Australia and in parts of the Mesozoic margin of the East Coast of United States. Most pre-Holocene coral-reef buildups, however, lack this steep fore-reef cliff, and have correspondingly less reef-core rock rubble. Reef-apron sediments may be stabilized or encrusted by foraminifera, sponges, or algae. A typical fore-reef toe facies of late Mesozoic and Cenozoic reef buildups is composed of a F i e 44.-Generalized view of reef environments and facies. “gravel” of irregular red algal nodules. Back-reef sediment is formed by both localized patch-reef framework, which grew as carpets or patch reefs, and by skeletal debris transported from the reef crest. The patch reefs tend to be massive and lens-like, while the adjacent back-reef sediments are generally burrowed, widespread, sheet-like, and varied in ATTACHED ,SEGMENTED CALCAREOUS BENTHOS \\ BAFFLESTONE SEDIMENT BINDSTONE 00MAL & MASSIVE METAZ OA FRAMESTONE REEF LIMESTONE FLOATSTONE RUDSTONE Figure 45.-Reef mosaic of organisms and sediment and the various limestones it can produce (&om James 1979b). grain size from sand to mud. Barrier islands or beaches may occur just behind the reef crest and show many of the charac- teristics of silicidastic barrier islands. They form by a complex of linear carbonate sand bodies parallel to depositional strike. I I The seaward margin tends to be smooth, but the lee side is serrated by storm washover fans and flood-tidal deltas. Sedimentary structures associated with the islands include crosslaminated carbonate sands from the beach face, lamellar fenestral (bird’s-eye) limestone, algal stromatolites, and storm washover layers. Early diagenetic changes and cementation may produce beach rock and tepee structures. Mud-skeletal banks are massive elongate bodies that form both parallel and perpendicular to the seaward edge of the platform margin. They range from knoll-like mounds of a few square meters to massive linear belts trending for hundreds of kilometers along depositiorial strike. The thickness of the banks varies from one to over 100 meters. Beds may be thick to massive and range from horizontal to clinoform. Modern carbonate mud banks form in conjunction with sea grasses and green calcareous algae that bind and trap fine-grained sediments derived from breakage in more turbulent water. Sediment in ancient banks of this kind varies from lime mud to fossiliferous sand, is commonly neomorphosed, and may contain cavities filled by sediment and cement. Pinnacles, Patch Re$, and Mound Pinnacles form during relatively rapid sea-level rises, .when carbonate production only locally keeps pace. Bottom agitation is not as great over pinnacles, patch reefs, and sediment mounds as on shelf-edgereefs; therefore, organisms tend to be different, and winnowing and frame-building are less important. These structures are also more symmetrical than shelf-edge reefs, and relatively less oriented with respect to waves and winds. Pinnacles and patch reefi are formed by frame builders. “Mounds” are designated as accumulations of lime silt and mud trapped by sponges, oaocorals, algae, and crinoids. Pinnacles, reefs, and sediment buildups are localized landward or seaward of the crest of the basin margin. They may be localized on highs formed by previous karst topography or some other local irregularity that causes waves to shoal and break or focuses swift tidal currents. Core facies of these bodies are generally massive to thick-bedded, while the flank beds have thin, irregular beds. Changes in texture tend to radiate outward from the buildup core. Seaward buildups commonly contain more porous, coarse-grained carbonates than the more shelfward mounds, but pore-filling marine cements occur more readily in a seaward direction. As with barrier-reef buildups, the pinnacle reefs are characterized by in situ boundstones of calcareous organisms and sediments. The reef frame is massive and cavernous, and the voids are filled with sediment and marine cement. These sedimentary features are exquisitely displayed in Silurian pinnacles from the Michigan Basin. Major facies variation occurs as buildups that initiated in deep water grew upward into shallow water. Their basal sediments are usually finer grained than their crests. The fauna at the base are usually a pioneer community of low diversity, while the fauna of the crest may be a more diverse climax community. Lower contacts are gradational with the platform sediments below the bodies. Most pinnacles are sharply overlain by basinal mark and shales similar to those deposited on the deeper parts of the platform. In rare instances the bodies coalesce upward and are sharply overlain by tidal-flat sediments. Potential Resewoir and Source Rocks The belt of reef and mud buildups at the depositionalsurface tends to be a narrow, ribbon-we feature less than about 100 m wide. The apron of skeletal’sand jhed bsck of the reef may be even narrower, while lagoonal sediments may stretch for tens of miles back of these buildups. All these facies may be quite extensive in the subsurface, due to basinward progradation. The reservoir potentials of reefs and buildups are widely assumed to be high. However, studies indicate that the porosity of reef boundstones is more often than not plugged by both primary and secondary cements and internal sediments. Proximal back-reef sand deposits can retain significant amounts of primary porosity, especially in reef tracts where accumulation of skeletal rubble was rapid. Quiet-water carbonates of deeper lagoons tend to be muddy sediments (that is, wackestones and packstones) with relatively low porosities and permeabilities. Fore-reef deposits and the aprons of mud buildups may have somewhat greater reservoir potential, especially if the reef itself is plugged by carbonate cements and acts as the updip seal in a stratigraphic trap. Some barrier-reefdeposits have proved to be major hydrocarbon reservoirs, although most lack an immediate upd~ptrap. An excellent example of a giant field in a barrier reef is the Oligocene reef complex at Kirkuk, Iraq. Part of the Devonian Leduc reservoir trend of Western Canada has the characteristics of both a linear mud-skeletal margin and barrier-reef complex. Reef-tract and linear mud-skeletal sediments typically have relatively low source potential. This is in part due to the shallow, turbulent environment, but also to the efficient recycling of organic detritus within the reef community’s trophic structure. Thus, little organic debris “leaks” from the crest community into the apron or the back margin lagoon. In contrast to barrier facies, major hydrocarbon discoveries are common in ancient pinnacle-reef and mud buildups. Reservoir volumes of pinnacles tend to be more sharply limited than for shelf-edge reservoirs. This is because the porous core fades is typically bounded by either relatively impermeable flank and margin deposits, basinal shales, or basinal evaporites. These deposits form the seal, but make recharge of reservoir hydrocarbons unlikely. Examples of oil fields in pinnacles are the Silurian of the Michigan Basin and the Devonian of Western Canada. Pinnacles may be associated with fairly rich source rocks at their flanks and in basinal sediments enclosing them. Organic productivity and preservation in the sedimentary column tend to be high for pinnacles situated on the lower basinal slope, but decline updip. South Florida Reefi and Banks The sedimentary package of the open shelf of South Florida shows upward changes to progressively less restricted environments of deposition (Enos and Perkins 1977). The vertical sequence closely parallels lateral changes in depositional tex- tures, sedimentary structures, and organic populations, all of which can be observed in surface sediments from the inner shelf to the shelf break. Upward in the sequence, grain size increases erratically, the percentage of fine sediment decreases, sorting improves, sedimentary structures are less disrupted by bioturbation, and the organisms present indicate open circulation. Halimedu, corals, and red algae are more abundant in the top of the sequence, whereas mollusks are more common toward the base. Stratigraphic cross sections show that the sequence is basically transgressive, reflecting progressively more open circulation and greater agitation up to the present (figure 46). The relative restriction in the lower part of the sequence probably resulted fi-om the depositional topography, such as reefs at the shelf break, early in the Holocene cycle (Enos and Perkins 1977). Deposition occurred during a continuous but decelerating eustatic sea-level rise; however, the overall transgressive sedimentary sequence may have been broken by laterally discontinuous regressive sequences due to restriction behind local depositional topography. Rodriguez Bank. The inshore zone of the open shelf is covered with a thin veneer of grass-covered muddy sands and localized, mound-like buildups. One such buildup, Rodriguez Bank, is a mound of unconsolidated calcareous sediments deposited with no rigid organic framework (Turmel and Swanson 1976). Major contributors were green algae, red algae, and corals (figure 47). Surface sediments vary from skeletal sands and gravels to variable mixtures oflime mud and skeletalsand. A A A A A A The bank was probably initiated by an embayment in the Pleistocene rock floor which acted as a trap for lime muds. During its early stages the bank developed in quiet water where circulation was restricted. Sediments were primarily lime muds with sparse skiletal fragments (figure48). With rising sea level, the depositional environment changed to more open circulation. Coral-algal sands and gravels accumulated, forming the sediment distribution and ecological zonation that t y p e the present bank. This nearly flat-topped, intertidal, algal bank has a distinct zonation along its windward (east-facing)side (figure 49). Immediately surrounding the mangrove-covered island (Rodriguez Key) is the bank top, where marine grasses and calcareous green algae are common, along with bivalves and burrowing crustaceans. The bank is fringed by narrow bands of intergrown, branched finger corals (Porites porites var. dzvaricata) and branched, twig-like coralline algae (Gonwlithon stricturn). These narrow bands are relatively grass-free. Off-bank, in 2 to 3 m of water, the bottom is similar to the bank top, but with the addition of sponges, additional small-branchedcorals, and sea urchins. Rodriguez Bank shows one possible evolutionary path that a mud bank can take. It is similar to those in Florida Bay (discussed below). Rodriguez Bank has developed a cap of coral-algal framework as a result of changing circulation patterns and water depth on the open shelf. A similar pattern exists in many ancieht mud mounds, of which good examples are the Upper Paleozoic phylloid algae buildups and Cretaceous rudistid mounds. A A m A A A LEGEND GRPINSTONE IINCLUDLS SOME BOUNDSTONE I N OUTER REEFS: PACKSTONE a MUOOI PACKSTONE 3 WPCKESTONL CORES I CORL LOCATION 1 CORE TO ROCK . DOYlhlh7 S K E L E T A L GRAINS Q UALlMrDA 4 a PELECYPOOS cr 5 W I I- g 10 SISTROPODS P E N E R O P L I D FORAMINIFERA 8 MlLlOLlD FORAMINIFERA q HEAD CORPLS Y BRANCHING CORALS MILES KILOMETERS Figure %.-Cross section of open shelf of South Florida (from Enos and Perkins 1977). SEA LEVEL Figure 47.-Important skeletal constituents in sediments of Rodriguez Bank: branched coralline algae Gonwlithm s&hum (A), Codiacian algae Halimda tri.llens (B) and branched coral Pmites porites (C) (from Ginsburg and James 1974b). Shelf-edge reefs. The outer part of the Florida open shelf (or reef tract) is made up of coral reefs and dean skeletal sands (figure50). Typical of the Florida reefs, the reefflat is composed of skeletal sands and coral fragments and is covered with only a fay feet of water at low tide. A typical profile of Florida reefs is compared with profiles from Jamaica and Belize in figure 5 1. A terrace of oriented branching corals slopes fiom the reef flat down to about a 3-m watq depfi, and a second terrace covered with massive head cords exttfids to about 7 m deep. Both terraces are incised by grooves that run normal to the trend of the reef. These sand-bottomed grooves are 3 to 6 m wide and 3 m deep. Coralline limestone spurs between the grooves may be 60 m wide. The spurs form by differential coral growth; the shifting substrate within the grooves is unfavorable for coral colonization. Except for the absence of the elkhorn coral (Acyoprna palw a ) , the organisms on the Florida patch reefs are the same as those observed on the shelf-edge reefs. The significantdifferences between the NO types of reefs are their positions on the of the buildup; The shelf-edge open shelf and the reefs form as discontinuous, relatively narrow belts along the strike ofthe actual shelfedge and develop back-reef and fore-reef deposits. In contrast, patch reefs are scattered across a very wide belt covering the outer half to two-thirds of the open shelf. They occur as isolated or coalescing buildups within a more widespread sheet of skeletal sands. Sand produced by reefs frequently forms sand bodies landward of reefs. White Bank, a shoal area about 5 km east of Key Largo, Florida, is such a sand body (Enos and Perkins 1977) (figure 52). Algal, mollusk, and coral sands form a belt 1 to 2 km wide and 40 km long. Although large portions of the belt are stabilized by sea grass, rippled sands are common. Both active and stable bottoms occur at similar water depths (1to 3 m), suggesting that scattered large sand waves must be due to localized hydrologic conditions. The sand body is asymmetrical in profili; the k p e r lagoon side suggests landward transport of sand. Most Holocene reefs of South Florida have developed over pre-existing highs. These highs may be earlier Holocene dune or reef topography or may lie along a major break in. slope formed by reef growth during Pleistocene time (Enos and Perkins 1977). The reefs have grown at rates of 1to 5 m per 1000 years (Shinn and others 1977). In some areas the rise in sea level eventually outpaced the reefs ability to grow. In other areas faster buildup formed thicker accumulations. Where reefs reached the surface, the accumulation rate eventually ceased because the rate of relative sea-level rise slowed during the latest Holocene. Coring of the Florida reefs shows that they have a coral-algal framework, plus accumulations of sand-size sediment veneered with coral rubble and scattered in-place colonies (figure 53 and 54). The rate of upbuilding of coral reefs is mostly controlled by the type of coral, Amopma palmata, which dominates most Caribbean shallow-reef communities, is capable of vertical rates that match the rate of sea-level rise at any time during the Holocene (Adev 1975). Coral reefs comprised of Diplurk. and Montas~reagrow much slower, and thus generally Ggged behind a rapidly rising sea level. A declining sea-level rise or stillstand might allow these slower growing reefs to reach close enough to the surface to develop A. palmata communities. \ . OFF. BANK ENVlROllNENT BINK ENvlRONNINT RODRIGUEZ KEY I 8 OINK ENVIRONYEIT N I ~ ~ o w ~ ~ I R ~ ~ ~ ~ N T – OFF BANK LNVIRONNENT I 0 HORIZONTAL SCALE I N FEET LIME MUD (

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