Sedimentary facies of Carboniferous–Permian mid-oceanic carbonates in the Changning–Menglian Belt, West Yunnan, Southwest China: Origin and depositional process



Huge carbonate rock bodies ranging in age from the Visean (Middle Mississippian/Early Carboniferous) to the Changhsingian (Lopingian/Late Permian) overlie a basaltic basement in the Changning–Menglian Belt, West Yunnan, Southwest China. These carbonates lack intercalations of terrigenous siliciclastic material throughout. These lines of evidence indicate that they formed upon an isolated and continuously subsiding mid-oceanic island (or plateau), probably of hotspot origin. The carbonates are grouped into a shallow-water carbonate platform facies regime observed in the Yutangzhai section and a relatively deep-water carbonate slope facies regime typically represented in the Longdong section. These two facies regimes developed contemporaneously as parts of a carbonate depositional system on and around a mid-oceanic volcanic edifice. The carbonate platform is subdivided into four facies, including platform-margin, shoal, lagoon, and peritidal facies. Along the measured Yutangzhai section of the platform facies regime, the vertical facies succession from the platform-margin facies into inner-platform facies such as the shoal and lagoon facies is recognized. This facies succession is explained as resulting from the progradation of the carbonate platform. Worm tubes occur as a main reef builder in platform-margin facies of the Mississippian. Their occurrence as major constituents in a high-wave-energy reef is peculiar to Carboniferous reef distributions of the world. The occurrences of other reef- and/or mound-building organisms and peritidal dolo-mudstone are almost consistent in timing with those of Panthalassan counterparts such as the Akiyoshi and Omi limestones of Japan, and probably exhibit the worldwide trend.