Contrasting Diagenesis of Two Carboniferous Oolites from South Wales: A Tale of Climatic Influence

  1. Maurice E. Tucker2 and
  2. Robin G. C. Bathurst3
  1. Kevin Hird and
  2. Maurice E. Tucker

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304510.ch17

Carbonate Diagenesis

Carbonate Diagenesis

How to Cite

Hird, K. and Tucker, M. E. (1990) Contrasting Diagenesis of Two Carboniferous Oolites from South Wales: A Tale of Climatic Influence, in Carbonate Diagenesis (eds M. E. Tucker and R. G. C. Bathurst), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304510.ch17

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Geological Sciences, University of Durham, UK

  2. 3

    Derwen Deg Fawr, Llanfair DC, Ruthin, Clwyd, North Wales, UK

Author Information

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

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 21 AUG 1990

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632029389

Online ISBN: 9781444304510



  • contrasting diagenesis of two Carboniferous Oolites from South Wales - climatic influence;
  • Gully Oolites, occurring in upper parts of shallowing-upward sequences;
  • Brofiscin Oolite;
  • major feature of Gully diagenesis, burial compaction;
  • first-generation cement of equant calcite spar, characterizing Brofiscin Oolite


Two oolites in the Dinantian (Mississippian/Lower Carboniferous) of Glamorgan, SW Britain, were deposited in similar depositional environments but have contrasting diagenetic histories. The Brofiscin and Gully Oolites occur in the upper parts of shallowing-upward sequences, formed through strandplain progradation and sand shoal and barrier growth upon a southward-dipping carbonate ramp. The Brofiscin Oolite is characterized by a first-generation cement of equant calcite spar, preferentially located at grain-contacts and forming non-isopachous fringes around grains, interpreted as meteoric vadose and phreatic in origin. Isopachous fibrous calcite fringes of marine origin are rather rare and occur only at a few horizons. Burial compaction was not important and porosity was occluded by poikilotopic calcite spar. Fitted grain–grain contacts locally occur and could be the result of near-surface vadose dissolution-compaction. Syntaxial overgrowths on echinoderm debris are common. Pre-compaction overgrowths are cloudy (inclusion-rich) and probably of meteoric origin, and post-compaction overgrowths are inclusion-free. By contrast, the Gully Oolite has little first-generation cement. However, marine fibrous calcite is common in oolitic intraclasts, as isopachous fringes of acicular calcite crystals closely associated with peloidal internal sediment; and early equant, drusy calcite spar occurs in the uppermost part of the Gully, beneath a prominent palaeokarst where pedogenic cements also occur. The major feature of Gully diagenesis is burial compaction, resulting in extensive grain–grain dissolution and microstylolitic grain contacts, and post-compaction poikilotopic spar occluded remaining porosity.

The Brofiscin Oolite is pervasively dolomitized up-dip but the Gully Oolite for the most part only contains scattered pre-compaction dolomite rhombs and late veins of baroque dolomite, with less pervasive dolomitization.

The difference in diagenetic style of the two Dinantian oolites is attributed to prevailing climate. The paucity of early meteoric cements in the Gully is a result of an arid climate, and this is supported by the nature of the capping palaeokarst. The abundant meteoric cements in the Brofiscin reflect a more humid climate, and effective meteoric recharge also resulted in up-dip pervasive mixing-zone dolomitization. The style of early diagenesis in these two oolites exerted a major control on the later burial diagenesis: in the Brofiscin, the early cements inhibited grain–grain dissolution and pressure solution, while these processes operated extensively in the Gully Oolite. Thus, prevailing climate can influence a limestone's diagenetic history from near-surface through into deep burial.