Upper Jurassic Carbonate/Evaporite Shelf, South Alabama and West Florida
Billy R. Moore
The association of Upper Jurassic carbonates and evaporites in south Alabama and west Florida defines a brining upward and inward sequence that is indicative of deposition on an increasingly evaporitic marine shelf. Structural features that bound this evaporitic shelf were the Pensacola arch, the South Mississippi platform, and the State Line flexure. Paleodrainage of the surrounding highlands also affected shelf salinities as fresh waters were funneled into the Covington and Manilla Embayments.
During the Late Jurassic, marine carbonates and evaporites of the Smackover and Lower Haynesville (Buckner) Formations were deposited over Middle Jurassic Norphlet clastics that accumulated in arid continental and marginal-marine environments. Initially, Smackover carbonate deposition was pervasive across the shallow shelf. Later, as a result of increasing water salinities contemporaneous precipitation of central-shelf evaporites and basin-edge carbonates occurred. Maximum restriction of the basin and the culmination of subaqueous deposition resulted in the formation of a basin-wide lower Haynesville salt unit. The overlying upper Haynesville strata represents a shift to subaerial environments.
Application of a shelf-basin evaporite model explains the spatial and temporal lithologic relationships observed within the study area. Onlap of evaporites over porous carbonates, due to brining-upward processes, suggest that large-scale stratigraphic traps exist within the Smackover Formation in a sparsely explored part of the basin.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.