Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 276–295 | Cite as

Sedimentation and significance of theNuia-bearing units in the Lower Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone (AVL): In central Nevada, USA

  • Ali Kaya
  • Gerald M. Friedman


In central Nevada, theNuia pack- and grainstone lithofacies constitute the lower cliffs of the Lower Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone (AVL). In these pack- and grainstone units,Nuia, a problematic alga, is the primary kind of particle. TheNuia pack- and grainstone lithofacies occur in the lower intervals of the AVL and are interpreted to represent the algal subtidal shoal bars. We believe that these shoals may have formed in a N-S extending, nearly flat shelf margin where theNuia subtidal shoal bars left behind a progressively shoaling, restricted-deep middle shelf.

TheNuia meadow, a main sediment-producing natural factory, is interpreted to have occurred mainly in an environment ranging from the open seaward-extended flanks to the crests of these subtidalNuia bars. The energy level of these shoals is interpreted to have ranged from moderately high to high; this magnitude was much higher than that of theGirvanella-dominated depositional sites. Thus,Girvanella-flourished environments were probably located at the protected sites of the subtidalNuia shoals. At these depositional sites, the high-turbulence and-agitation level of theNuia shoals inhibited the blue-green algaeGirvanella to grow and flourish.

However,Girvanella andNuia coexist in otherNuia-bearing lithofacies of mid- and open shelves. It is likely to suggest thatNuia particles may have been transported from theNuia meadow to open seaward and leeward by wave and current activities. On the other hand, in theNuia-rich oncoidal packstone lithofacies, the multiwall-structuredNuia particles occur as the predominant nuclei ofGirvanella-constituted oncoids. This suggests that the multiwall-structuredNuia may have preferably flourished in theGirvanella-dominated soft substrate. Therefore, these kinds ofNuia probably represent a differentNuia species than those primarily inhabited in theNuia shoals.

Fine siliciclastic sediments are closely related to theNuia-bearing lithofacies of open and mid-shelf facies and to theNuia shoal bars at the upperNuia shoal cycles. At these intervals, upward progressively thinningNuia shoal bars represent the basal component of the shoal cycles and are directly overlain by thicker fine siliciclastics. We believe that these relations resulted from short durational, high-amplitude sea-level rises which induced incipiently drownedNuia shoals. Consequently, drowned-Nuia shoal bars allowed fine siliciclasties to advance farther open scaward.

The bedforms and textures of theNuia pack- and-grainstone lithofacies suggest a storm- and-tide-dominated shoal facies. However, the absence of ooids and oolitic sediments in theNuia-dominated shoals can be attributed to (1) a nearly flat, wide-shelf margin, and (2) a high-sediment production rate ofNuia. Therefore,Nuia shoal units, with indicated bedforms, predominant sediment type, and with their relations with fine siliciclastics, can probably be analogous to the modernHalimeda subtidal sand bars in southern Florida (Shinn el al. 1990).


Ordovician Lithofacies Grainstone Wackestone Peloids 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. AIGNER, T., 1982, Calcareous tempestites: Storm-dominated stratification in Upper Muschelkalk Limestones (Middle Trias, SW Germany) p. 180–197,in Einsele, A. and Seilacher, G., eds., Cyclic Event Stratification: New York, Springer Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. ALBERSTADT, L. and REPETSKI, J.E., 1989, A Lower Ordovician sponge/algal facies in the Southern United States and its counterparts elsewhere in North America:Palios, v. 4, p. 225–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. BALL, M.M., 1967, Carbonate sand bodies of Florida and the Bahamas:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 37, p. 556–591.Google Scholar
  4. BASLER, R.S., 1941, The Nevada Early Ordovician (Pogonip) sponge fauna:U.S. Natl. Museum Proceedings, v. 91, p. 91–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. BATHURST, R.G.C., 1975, Carbonate Sediments and Their Diagenesis. Amsterdam, Elsevier, 658 p.Google Scholar
  6. DAHANAYAKE, K., 1977, Classification of oncoids from the upper Jurassic carbonates of the French Jura:Sedimentary Geology, v. 18, p. 337–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. DAHANAYAKE, K., 1983, Girvanella oncoids from the Middle to Upper Jurassic oncoids, p. 377–388,in Peryt, T.M, ed., Coated Grains. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 655 p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. FINKS, R.M. and TOOMEY, D.F., 1969, The paleoecology of Chazian (Lower Middle Ordovician) “Reefs” or mounds:New York State Geological Association Field Guide Book, p. 93–120.Google Scholar
  9. GEVIRTZMAN, D.A. and MOUNT, J.F., 1984, Paleoenvironments of an earliest Cambrian (Tommotian) shelley fauna found in the southwestern Great Basin, U.S.A.:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 56, p. 412–421.Google Scholar
  10. GILBERT, G.K, 1880, Contributions to the history of Lake Bonniville:US Geological Survey, 2nd Annual Report, p. 169–200.Google Scholar
  11. HARRIS, P.M., 1979, Facies anatomy and diagenesis of a Bahamian ooid shoal: Miami. Fl, University of Miami, Sedimenta VII, Comparative Sedimentology Laboratory, 163 p.Google Scholar
  12. HAYES, M.O., 1967, Hurricanes as geological agents, south Texas coast:American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 51, p. 937–942.Google Scholar
  13. HINTZE, L.F., 1951, Lower Ordovician Detailed Stratigraphic Sections for Western Utah:Utah geological and Mineralogical Survey Bulletin, v. 39, 98 p.Google Scholar
  14. HOWARD, J.D. and REINECK, H.E., 1979, Sedimentary structures of “high energy” beach-to-offshore sequence; Ventura-Port Hueneme area, California (abstract):Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 63, p. 468–469.Google Scholar
  15. HUDSON, J.H., 1985, Growth rate and carbonate production in Halimeda Opuntia: Marquesas Keys, Florida, p. 257–264,in Toomey, D.F. and Nitecki, M.N., eds., Paleoalgoloy: Contemporary Research and Applications: Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 376 p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. JOHNSON, J.H., 1966, Late Cambrian algal geneusNuia from Brewster County, Texas:Journal of Paleontology, v. 10, p. 432–452.Google Scholar
  17. KAY, M., 1962, Classification of Ordovician Chazyan shelly and graptolitic sequence from central Nevada:Geological Society of America, v. 73, p. 1421–1430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. KAYA, A., 1993, Depositional environments, diagenesis, and burial history of the Antelope Valley Limestone (Lowe-Middle Ordovician) in the Great Basin, central Nevada. Unpublished Ph.D thesis in The City University of New York, New York, 749 p.Google Scholar
  19. KAYA, A. and FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1987, Depositional environment and diagenesis of Middle Ordovician Nuia-rich units, Antelope Valley Limestone, central Nevada:Geological Society of America Programs with Abstracts, p. 722–723.Google Scholar
  20. KAYA, A. and FRIEDMAN, G.M., 1988, Epigenetic and deepburial dolomitization of Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone (Pogonip Group), central Nevada (Abstract):American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 72, p. 205.Google Scholar
  21. KUMAR, N. and SANDERS, J.E., 1975, Evidence of shoreface retreated in-place drowning during Holocene submergence of barriers, shelf off Fire Island, New York:Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 86, p. 65–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. LONGMAN, M.W., 1980, Carbonate diagenetic textures from nearsurface diagenetic environments:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 64, p. 461–487.Google Scholar
  23. LOWELL, J.B., 1965, Low and Middle Ordovician history in the Hot Creek and Monitor Ranges, central Nevada:Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 786, p. 257–266.Google Scholar
  24. MAMET, B. and ROUX, A., 1982, Sur le mode de croissance deNuia Algue incerte sedis:Geobios, v. 15, p. 959–965.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. MARKELLO, J.R. and READ, J.F., 1981, Carbonate ramp-todeeper shale shelf transitions of an Upper Cambrian intra shelf basin, Nolichucky Formation, southwest Virginia Appalachians:Sedimentology, v. 28, p. 573–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. MCKEE, E.H., 1976, Northern part of the Toquima Range, Lander, Eureka, and Nye Counties:Nevada, U.S. Geology Survey Professional Paper, v. 931, 49 p.Google Scholar
  27. MCRAE, S.G., 1972, Glauconite:Earth Science Reviews, v. 8, p. 397–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. MERRIAM, C. W., 1963, Paleozoic rocks of Antelope Valley, Eureka, and Nye Counties:US Geological Survey Professional Paper, v. 423, 67 p.Google Scholar
  29. MORREALE, S.A., 1981, Depositional environments and diagenesis of the Lower-Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone, Eureka and Nye Counties, Nevada: Unpublished Master's thesis in University of Missouri, Colombia, 66 p.Google Scholar
  30. MULLINS, H.T., NEUMANN, A.C., WILBER, R.J., and BOARDMAN, M.R., 1980, Nodular carbonate sediment on Bahama Slopes: possible precursors to nodular limestones:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 50, p. 117–131.Google Scholar
  31. NOLAN, T.B., MERRIAM, C.W., and WILLIAMS, J.S., 1956, The stratigraphic section in the vicinity of Eureka, Nevada:US Geological Surey Professional Paper, v. 276, 77 p.Google Scholar
  32. ODIN, G.S. and MATTER, A., 1981, De glauconiarum origine:Sedimentology, v. 28, p. 611–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. PERYT, T.M., 1981, Phanerozoic oncoids—an overview:Facies, v. 4, p. 197–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. PERYT, T.M., 1983, Oncoids: Comment to recent developments in coated grains, p. 273–275,in Peryt, T.M., eds., Coated Grains: Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 655 p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. READ, J.F., 1980, Carbonate ramp-to-basin transition and foreland basin evolution, Middle Ordovician, Virginia Appalachians:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 64, p. 1575–1612.Google Scholar
  36. REINECK, H.E. and SINGH, I.B., 1972, Genesis of laminated sand and graded rhythmites in storm-sand layers of shelf mud:Sedimentology, v. 18, p. 123–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. REZAK, R., 1985, Local carbonate production on a terrigenous shelf:Transactions Gulf Coast Association Geological Society, v. 23, p. 477–483.Google Scholar
  38. ROSS, R.J. Jr, 1964, Relations of Middle Ordovician time and rock units in the Basin Ranges, western United States:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 48, p. 1526–1554.Google Scholar
  39. ROSS, R.J. Jr, 1977, Ordovician paleogeography of the western United States, p. 19–38,in Stewart, J.H., Stevens, C.H., Fritshe, A.E., eds., Paleogeography of the Western United States: Society Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Pacific Section, Pacific Coast Paleogeography, Symposium 1.Google Scholar
  40. ROSS, R.J.JR., JAMES, N.P., HINTZE, L.F., and POOLE, F.G., 1989, Architecture and evolution of a Whiterockian (Early Middle Ordovician) Carbonate Platform, Basin Ranges of Western U.S.A., p. 167–185,in controls on Carbonate platform and Basin Development:Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication, no. 44.Google Scholar
  41. ROSS, R.J.JR., VALUSEK, J., and JAMES, N.P., 1988,Nuia and its environmental significance:New Mexico Bureau of Mines, Mineral Resources Memoir 44, p. 115–121.Google Scholar
  42. SANDERS, J.E. and KUMAR, N., 1976, Characteristics of shoreface storm deposits, modern and ancient examples:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 46, p. 145–162.Google Scholar
  43. SHINN, E.A., HOLMES, C.W., HUDSON, J.H., ROBBIN, D.M., and LIDS, B.H., 1982, Non-oolitic, high energy carbonate sand accumulation: the quicksands, southwest Florida Keys (Abstract):American Association of Petroleum Geologists, v. 66, p. 629–630.Google Scholar
  44. SHINN, E.A., LIDZ, B.H., and HOLMES, C.W., 1990, High energy carbonate-sand accumulation, the Quicksands, south west Florida:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 60, p. 952–967.Google Scholar
  45. SOEGAARD, K. and ERIKSSON, K.A., 1985, Evidence of tide, storm and wave interaction on a Precambrian siliciclastic shelf: The 1,700 m.y. Ortega Group, New Mexico:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 55, p. 672–690.Google Scholar
  46. STRICKER, G.D. and CAROZZI, A.V., 1973, Carbonate micro facies of the Pogonip Group (lower Ordovician) Arrow Canyon Range, Clark County, Nevada, U.S.A.:Bull Centre Rech. Pau, v. 30, p. 499–541.Google Scholar
  47. TABAN, O., 1986, Stratigraphy, lithology, depositional and diagenetic environments of the Antelope Valley Limestone at the Antelope Range and Martin Ridge section in central Nevada. Unpublished Master thesis, 181 p.Google Scholar
  48. TOOMEY, D.F., 1970, An unhurried look at Lower Ordovician mount horizon southern Franklin Mountains, West Texas:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 40, p. 1318–1334.Google Scholar
  49. TOOMEY, D.F. and FINKS, R.M., 1969, Chazian mounds, southern Quebec, Canada — A Summary:New York State Geological Association Field Guide book, p. 120–134.Google Scholar
  50. TOOMEY, D.F. and KLEMENT, K.W.A., 1966, Problematical micro-organism from the El Paso Group (Lower Ordovician) of west Texas:Journal of Paleontology, v. 40, p. 1304–1311.Google Scholar
  51. TOOMEY, D.F. and LEMONE, 1977, Some Ordovician and Silurian Algal forms in selected areas of southeastern United States, p. 351–359,in E. Flügel, ed., Fossil Algae. Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 375 p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. VAN HOUTTEN, F.B. and PURUCKER, M.E., 1984, Glauconite peloids, and chamosite ooids favorable factors, constraints, and problems:Earth Science Reviews, v. 20, p. 211–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. WANLESS, H.R., 1979, Limestone response to stress: pressure solution and dolomitization:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 49, p. 437–462.Google Scholar
  54. WANLESS, H.R., TEDESCO, L.P., and TYRELL, K.M., 1988, Production of Subtidal tubular and surfacial tempestites by Hurricane Kate, Caicos Platform, British West Indies:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 58, p. 739–751.Google Scholar
  55. WASHBURN, R.H., 1970, Stratigraphy of the Toiyabe Range, southern Lander county, Nevada:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 54, p. 275–284.Google Scholar
  56. WILBER, R.J. and NEUMAN, A.C., 1977, Porosity controls in subsea cemented rocks from deep-flank environment of Little Bahama Bank:American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 61, p. 841.Google Scholar
  57. WIMAN, S.K. and MCKENDREE, 1975, Distribution of Halimeda plants and sediments on and around a patchy reef near Old Rhodes Key, Florida:Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 45, p. 415–421.Google Scholar
  58. YANCEY, E., 1986, Mixed carbonate-terrigenous clastic sedimentation on a ramp-topped shelf (distally-steepened ramp), the eastern shelf of the Midland Basin, Texas:West Texas Geological Society, v. 25, p. 4–10.Google Scholar
  59. YUREWICZ, D.A., 1977, Sedimentology of Mississippi basin facies carbonates, New Mexico and west Texas — The Rancheria Formation, p. 203–219,in Cook, H.E. and Enos, P., eds, Deepwater carbonate environments:Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication no. 25. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Kaya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gerald M. Friedman
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Geology and School of Education of Brooklyn CollegeBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of the City University of New YorkBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Brooklyn College and Graduate School of the City University of New YorkBrooklyn
  4. 4.Northeastern Science Foundation affiliated with Brooklyn CollegeTroyUSA
  5. 5.City University of New York, Rensselaer Center of Applied GeologyTroyUSA

Personalised recommendations