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Development of a prograding carbonate wedge during sea level fall: Lower Pleistocene of Rhodes, Greece



A Lower Pleistocene carbonate platform is described from north-east Rhodes, Greece. It comprises a succession of warm temperate calcarenites (the Cape Arkhangelos calcarenite facies group) developed in a steep-sided coastal basin. The depositional setting for the sediments is a carbonate wedge developed within a larger-scale forced regression. Deposition began with aggradation of storm-dominated lower and upper shoreface deposits. Later, the development of a prograding platform produced giant clinoform foresets. A marked alternation of cross-bedded and bioturbated clinoforms indicates seasonal transport of carbonate material off the platform. Periodically, the platform edge has been deeply scoured by exceptional storms, after which further deposition repaired the platform margin, and progradation resumed. More than 20 such major storm cycles are preserved. Applying sequence stratigraphy to this succession leads to two different possible interpretations: one with a lowstand systems tract and one with a forced regressive systems tract, depending on the scale of view. The implications of this are discussed. The present example shows clearly that the application of sequence stratigraphic models to real carbonate sequences requires careful consideration of scale and context before interpretations are made.