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Upper Smackover carbonates of southwestern Alabama and western Florida exhibit arcuate trends of porous dolomitized grainstones separated by areas of impermeable muddy limestones. The origin of these porous trends is related to the depositional and diagenetic history of upper Smackover carbonates and overlying Buckner evaporites. Shoal-water oolitic and peloidal grainstones of the upper Smackover were deposited across basement and salt-related topographic highs. Subsequent aggradation and stepwise progradation of oolitic shoals over low-energy packstones and wackestones produced a complex sea-floor topography of arcuate oolite ridges (highs) and elliptical muddy lagoons (lows). Marine regression during Buckner deposition led to the formation of saline ponds and sabkhas th t were initially located over Smackover lagoonal lows and rimmed by Smackover oolite ridges. Precipitation of evaporites within these depressions created magnesium-rich brines that selectively dolomitized adjacent Smackover carbonates. Both the outflow of brine and the pattern of dolomitization were controlled by the fluid transmissibility of Smackover sediments. Consequently, permeable oolitic and peloidal grainstones were preferentially dolomitized over less-permeable muddy carbonates. A possible hydrologic analog for the study area exists within the MacLeod Evaporite basin, western Australia.
Following burial, dolomites maintained greater effective porosity on the flanks of basement and salt-related topographic highs than on the crests.
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