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Modern Isolated Carbonate Platform Dimensional Database Collected from Publicly Available Image Catalogs

Bachtel, Steve 1; Phelps, Ryan 2; Hereid, Kelly 2; El-Azzi, Joseph 2; Dunn, Elizabeth M.2; Helbert, Dana 2; Cardona, Paola 2; Caber, Randy 2; Singh, Kadira 2; Kiel, Brian 2
1 ConocoPhillips Co., Houston, TX.
2 Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas, Austin, TX.

A global dimensional database of approximately 840 Modern isolated carbonate platforms was constructed using publicly available image catalogs and literature. The database provides comparative analogs for ancient subsurface and outcrop datasets. The database includes location, classification of platform type, area, perimeter, and platform interior water depths. Platform type is determined by the extent of reef margin accretion and relative platform interior water depth. Total area was measured for each platform with separate measurements for shallow, moderate, and deep regions of the platform interior. Perimeter measurements include total perimeter, and perimeter lengths of islands and fully accreted reef crests. Maximum depths of the platforms were compiled from literature.

Eight study areas were investigated, providing global coverage of Modern isolated platforms. Quality control was performed on subsets of each dataset to ensure data consistency among all investigators. The measurements were compiled in ArcGIS to visualize basin-scale patterns in the dataset. Several major carbonate producing regions are illustrated including the Maldives, South China Sea, Marshall/Gilbert Islands, Northern Caribbean, Rowley Shoals, and East Fiji.

Modern carbonate environments contain a wide diversity of carbonate platforms and illustrate the importance of subsidence and tectonic setting on the distribution of platform types, platform interior depths, and platform margins. Incipiently drowned platforms (those with deep platform margins), are found most commonly in rapidly subsiding, active tectonic areas. Platforms with more continuous accreted margins are interpreted to be in areas of relatively less subsidence. Deep platform interiors seem to correlate with faster subsiding crust and platforms that are partly or fully filled with sediment may be in areas of slower subsidence. Future work will analyze platform dimensions in relation to sea surface temperature, wind strength, currents, and nutrients to evaluate additional external controls on platform morphology and physiography.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009