Devonian Reefal Platforms of the Canning Basin – Lessons Learned and Value as Analogs*
Charles Kerans1 and Paul M. (Mitch) Harris2
Search and Discovery Article #40302 (2008)
Posted September 8, 2008
*Adapted from oral presentation at AAPG Annual Convention, Long Beach, CA, April 1-4, 2007
Click to view list of articles adapted from presentations by P.M. (Mitch) Harris or by his co-workers and him at AAPG meetings from 2000 to 2008.
1 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, TX ([email protected])
2 Chevron Energy Technology Company, San Ramon, CA. ([email protected])
Outcrops of Devonian reef-rimmed carbonate shelves in the Canning Basin of Western Australia have provided fundamental insight into our understanding of carbonate systems and served as invaluable analogs for reef-rimmed platforms of all ages. This extraordinary example of an exhumed barrier reef complex with preserved paleotopography and superb cross-sectional gorge exposures fosters construction of unambiguous depositional and early diagenetic models for ancient carbonates. Generating well-constrained shelf-to-basin profiles that serve as models for macrofauna and microbial associations distributions, as well as models illustrating the fundamental importance of early marine diagenesis, have been at the heart of the work that Playford and the Geological Survey of Western Australia have generated through five decades of sustained research along the Lennard Shelf.
As the science of carbonate geology has evolved, the Canning Basin Devonian platforms have served as a testing ground for sequence stratigraphic models, reciprocal clastic/carbonate sedimentation patterns, cyclostratigraphic analysis of greenhouse carbonates, controls on architecture and style of carbonate slope deposits, and for understanding of paleogeographic and stratigraphic controls on fracture distributions. Increased activity in the Timon-Pechura, Pre-Caspian, and Alberta basins, all with major producing horizons of Frasnian and/or Famennian age, combined with a steady need for improved generic carbonate models, will ensure a high level of relevance for these outcrops for future generations of researchers.
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