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A comparative sedimentology and facies stratigraphy study of the Lower Ordovician carbonate of the central Appalachians (Beekmantown Group and equivalents) has been carried out. Our approach used subfacies (rock record of subenvironments) as the basic units of section measurement. We differentiated related sets of subfacies into larger facies units (rock record of environments). Facies were then correlated from section to section using fossils and lithostratigraphy to make a 3-dimensional facies mosaic. Within this mosaic, time lines were constructed using onlap-offlap tongues and cyclic sequences. These time lines cut across facies boundaries. Using this approach, we have established that the lower 600 m of the Lower Ordovician carbonate sequence is made up of 4 main fac es: (1) cyclic laminite facies composed of a package of shoaling-upward shelf lagoon-peritidal cycles, (2) thin-bedded grainstone facies deposited in a shelf lagoon, (3) Renalcis bioherm facies recording a shelf lagoon patch-reef environment, and (4) Epiphyton bioherm facies recording a shelf-edge reef system. The distribution of these facies along time lines across the strike of the central Appalachian is markedly zoned. Epiphyton bioherm facies dominate the eastern margin while cyclic laminite facies dominate the western margin, with thin-bedded grainstone and Renalcis bioherm facies making up the central belt. This zonation of facies is a typical shallow carbonate shelf system with fringing reefs along the eastern, seaward margin and tidal flats along the western, landward margin. Ver ical distribution of these facies across strike records 3 major sea level changes during deposition of the lower 600 m of this extensive Lower Ordovician carbonate shelf.
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