Oolitic sediments occur over large portions of the outer continental shelf off northernmost Brazil and southern French Guiana. Carbon-14 dates, stable isotope values and analogies with similar deposits from other areas in the world indicate that the ooids were formed in shallow water (possibly protected hypersaline environments) during low stands of sea level. In contrast to both modern ooids and other relict ooids, however, the Amazon shelf ooids are composed entirely of magnesian calcite (12 mol % MgCO3) and possess radial crystal microstructures.

A comparison of water depths and ages of the Amazon ooids with the generally accepted eustatic sea level curve indicates that the Amazon shelf subsided more than 100 m 16-21 thousand years ago. Prior to and subsequent to the subsidence, however, the outer shelf remained relatively stable.