Sequence Stratigraphy of Carbonate Ramps: Systems Tracts, Models and Application to the Muschelkalk Carbonate Platforms of Eastern Spain

  1. Henry W. Posamentier4,
  2. Colin P. Summerhayes5,
  3. Bilal U. Haq6 and
  4. George P. Allen7
  1. M. E. Tucker1,
  2. F. Calvet2 and
  3. D. Hunt3

Published Online: 15 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304015.ch20

Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Associations

Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Associations

How to Cite

Tucker, M. E., Calvet, F. and Hunt, D. (1993) Sequence Stratigraphy of Carbonate Ramps: Systems Tracts, Models and Application to the Muschelkalk Carbonate Platforms of Eastern Spain, in Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Associations (eds H. W. Posamentier, C. P. Summerhayes, B. U. Haq and G. P. Allen), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304015.ch20

Editor Information

  1. 4

    Plano, Texas, USA

  2. 5

    Godalming, UK

  3. 6

    Washington, DC, USA

  4. 7

    St Remy les Chevreuses, France

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geological Sciences, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK

  2. 2

    Departamento GPPG, Facultat de Geologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Zona Universitaria de Pedralbes, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

  3. 3

    Department of Geology, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 17 NOV 1993

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632035489

Online ISBN: 9781444304015

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Keywords:

  • sequence stratigraphy of carbonate ramps - systems tracts, models and application to Muschelkalk carbonate platforms of eastern Spain;
  • sequence stratigraphy of carbonate ramps;
  • reefs and mud mounds on ramps;
  • Lower Muschelkalk lithostratigraphy and systems tracts;
  • Keuper evaporitic sediments succeeding Upper Muschelkalk carbonates;
  • concepts of carbonate-ramp sequence stratigraphy - applied to Triassic Muschelkalk carbonate platforms of eastern Spain

Summary

Carbonate ramps are a type of carbonate platform where there is no major break of slope from the shoreline into deeper water. They are characterized by inner-ramp sands and outer-ramp muddy sands and muds. Storm processes are generally important on ramps, but resedimentation of material to slope fan and aprons by turbidity currents and debris flows is only important on distally steepened ramps. Large reefal structures are generally not well developed on ramps, but pinnacle reefs and mud mounds do develop in deeper water on ramps.

In terms of sequence stratigraphy, the transgressive and highstand systems tracts (TST and HST) are the most important depositional periods for carbonate ramps. During the TST, different geometries are produced, depending on the relative rates of sea-level change and carbonate sedimentation. The latter is controlled by other factors than just sea-level change. When the rate of relative sea-level rise is greater than the rate of carbonate sedimentation, backstepping of the shoreline and drowning of the earlier inner-ramp sands take place, or the shoreline retrogrades to produce an onlapping, retrogradational set of parasequences or a transgressive sheet sand. When the rate of sea-level rise is equal to or less than the rate of carbonate sedimentation, aggradation and even progradation of the inner-ramp sands take place to produce a thick sand body. During the highstand, ramp carbonates aggrade and prograde, downlapping on to the earlier TST sediments. On a homoclinal ramp, there is a downward shift of facies belts during the lowstand systems tract (LST), and exposure of the former inner ramp produces a sequence boundary. A significant sand body may develop at the new lowstand shoreline. On a distally steepened ramp, there may be much resedimentation of outer- and inner-ramp material to a slope apron if the sea-level fall is great.

The concepts and models developed in this paper for carbonate-ramp sequence stratigraphy are applied to the mid-Triassic Muschelkalk carbonate platforms of eastern Spain. Both are dominated by TST and HST sediments of third-order sequences and contain fourth-/fifth-order, shallowing-upward parasequences. Beneath each platform, in the uppermost Buntsandstein and in the Middle Muschelkalk, respectively, there is an LST of marls and evaporites, deposited at a time of tectonic extension within the Catalan Basin. The carbonate platforms formed during the succeeding phase of regional subsidence.