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ABSTRACT

Norian crinoidal/brachiopod limestones and cephalopod limestones of the Hallstatt-type occur as blocks in a Hettangian(?) calcareous breccia of the Haliw Formation in the Oman Mountains. Crinoidal and brachiopod packstones, up to 12 m thick, prevail in the lower part of the sequence and were deposited on a substrate of Norian forereef breccia. The overlying cephalopod wackestones, up to 4.9 m thick, have a basal white bed followed by red limestones with abundant planar and scalloped, corroded surfaces and local stromatolites. Upward, red, nodular wackestones and, finally, slumped grey wackestones follow.

The analysis of geopetal fabrics in orientated samples shows that bedding of these facies is, in fact, inclined bedding. Inclinations varied between 15 and 29°. In addition, the restored dip directions demonstrate rotation, indicating deposition on a gliding block.

The preferred orientation of orthoconic cephalopods and imbrication of discoidal ammonoids coincide with the dip direction measured from geopetal fabrics. Such features, generally interpreted as current-induced, are here interpreted as gravity-induced. The overall mud-supported rock fabric thus indicates deposition under very low-energy conditions.

The common mud-supported texture of the rocks contrasts with evidence for current activity found in the scalloped surfaces and shell lags, particularly in the crinoidal/brachiopod facies and the lower, stratigraphically condensed, cephalopod limestones. This indicates that deposition of lime mud alternated with periods of elevated current strength. A comparison of the Hallstatt-type limestones and current-influenced sediments on the northern slope of the Little Bahama Bank suggests that condensed sequences of the Hallstatt-type are restricted to relatively shallow depths with strong fluctuation of contour-following currents undersaturated with respect to aragonite along carbonate shelf margins facing the open ocean. On steep slopes, sediment bypassing may be an additional factor for stratigraphic condensation.