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Facies

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 59–79 | Cite as

Depth-related ecological zonation of a carboniferous carbonate ramp: Upper Viséan of Béchar Basin, Western Algeria

  • Achour Madi
  • Pierre-André Bourque
  • Bernard L. Mamet
Article

Summary

Following the demise of the stromatoporoid-coral reef community in Late Frasnian time, Lower Carboniferous carbonate shelf profiles possessed a ramp geometry, with major organic buildups represented by mud-rich mounds. Microfacies petrography of the exceptionally well-preserved Upper Viséan (Lower Carboniferous) carbonate ramp of the Béchar Basin, Algerian Sahara, may well contribute significantly to our understanding of the paleoecological zonation of Carboniferous non-rimmed platforms, and of the still enigmatic mounds commonly referred to as Waulsortian banks or mounds.

Facies are grouped into two broad groups: (a) a mound facies group which comprises sponge wackestone-bafflestone, sponge-fenestellid bafflestone-wackestone, crinoid wackestone-packstone, and bedded flanks of intraclastic wackestone-packstone, all four facies composing the actual mud-rich mounds, and (b) a supramound facies group composed of coral-microbial framestone, crinoid packstone-grainstone, algal-foraminiferal grainstone and oolite grainstone.

Calcareous algae are important bathymetric indicators and are used to delineate three bathymetric zones based on light penetration: the aphotic zone, which contains no calcareous algae; the dysphotic zone, where there is little ambient light, and which is characterized by the presence of red algae (Fasciella, Ungdarella, Stacheia, Epistacheoides) and absence of green algae; and the euphotic zone, which receives the full spectrum of sunlight, and is characterized by the occurrence of both green algae (Koninckopora, Kamaenella, Kamaena, Palaeoberesella, Calcisphaera, Anthracoporellopsis, Issinella, Exvotarisella) and red algae.

Integration of algal zonation, distribution of the other biota, and recurrence of distinct assemblages, enable recognition of seven depth-related benthic assemblages. Together with the physical properties of the facies, the benthic assemblages were used to define seven bathymetric zones, from upper to lower ramp: (1) algal assemblage (upper ramp); (2) crinoid-ramose bryozoan assemblage (mid-ramp); and (3) productid brachiopod assemblage, (4) colonial rugose coral-microbial encruster assemblage, (5) crinoid-fenestellid assemblage, (6) sponge-fenestellid, and (7) sponge assemblage (lower ramp).

The vertical zonation of the mud-rich mounds and associated facies differ from that reported from the classical Upper Tournaisian-Lower Viséan Waulsortian mound-bearing successions.

Keywords

Carbonate Ramp Facies Analysis Petrography Paleoecological Zonation Paleobathymetric Zones Benthic Assemblages Sponges Bryozoans Calcareous Algae Crinoids Corals Microbial Incrusters Brachiopods Béchar Basin (Algeria) Carboniferous (Upper Visean) 

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Copyright information

© Institut für Paläontologie, Universität Erlangen 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Achour Madi
    • 1
  • Pierre-André Bourque
    • 1
  • Bernard L. Mamet
    • 2
  1. 1.Département de GéologieUniversité LavalQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Département de GéologieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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