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Stratal Order in Peritidal Carbonate Sequences
Bruce H. Wilkinson (1), Carl N. Drummond (2), Edward D. Rothman (3), Nathaniel W. Diedrich (1)
In order to determine the statistical extents and stratigraphic scales of stratal order in such sequences, we have examined several long sections of peritidal carbonate both with respect to the presence or absence of Markovian lithologic transitions and with respect to the "upward-shallowing" character of lithofacies associations. In contrast to common wisdom, these measures of stratal order suggest that lithologic manifestation of meter-scale cyclicity is relatively uncommon. All of the several sequences deemed "cyclic" via qualitative inspection in fact contain relatively few intervals of demonstrable lithologic order, and even fewer exhibit any tendency for contained units to shallow upsection. In reality, most parts of most shallow-water carbonate sequences exhibit little more str tal order than would be apparent in random sequences of peritidal lithologies.
On the basis of these considerations, we suggest that discrimination
of meter-scale cyclicity in epicratonic carbonates is perhaps more perceptional
artifact than stratigraphic reality. Imminent and future efforts intended
to fruitfully evaluate the importance of intrabasinal versus extrabasinal
processes of sedimentation in shallow low-latitude settings should perhaps
eschew more generic perceptions of periodic paleoclimatic forcing in favor
of a less regimented view toward the importance of stochastic processes
of carbonate accumulation.
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