The Upper Triassic in South Wales is composed of up to 100 m of red, dolomitic mudstones of the Mercia Mudstone Group which overlie and are laterally equivalent to basin margin coarse clastic deposits. In the Sully Island and Dinas Powys areas, a series of carbonate deposits was laid down within small basins adjacent to the main Bristol Channel Basin. The rocks consist of dolomites containing replaced evaporites, overlain by perilittoral freshwater limestones. The limestones are fenestral intrasparites and contain abundant pedogenic and stromatolitic horizons, as well as locally developed travertines. Evidence for vadose diagenesis within the limestones is common. The travertines consist of sheets of fibrous calcite (flowstone) associated with pisoids and flöe calcite. Most of the travertines consist of single sheets several millimetres in thickness although ‘mounds’up to 1 m in height and 5 m in diameter are also present. The topmost metre of the limestones, which has been dolomitized, is deformed into tepee and megapolygonal structures.

The carbon and oxygen stable isotopic composition of the limestones suggests that they were precipitated in low salinity waters. Successive samples from individual bands of flowstone show a covariance of δ18C and δ13C which is consistent with the mixing of resurgent groundwaters with pools of more evolved waters at the surface. The sedimentological and geochemical evidence suggests that the limestones were deposited in a small, enclosed basin fed by upwelling meteoric groundwaters in an environment distinct from that in which the laterally equivalent gypsiferous red mudstones were formed.