Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 64–83 | Cite as

Sequence stratigraphy of the Middle Devonian Winnipegosis carbonate-prairie evaporite transition, southern Elk Point Basin

  • Jisuo Jin
  • Katherine M. Bergman


The Middle Devonian Winnipegosis reefs in the southern Saskatchewan portion of the Elk Point Basin contain extensive vadose diagenetic features, such as dissolution breccia, and cavities/caves filled by microbialite, pisolite and anhydrite. Basinal facies adjacent to reef buildups are characterized by the Ratner laminite, which consists of three brining-upward successions of laterally continuous, laminated dolomite and anhydrite. The basal cycle starts with a relatively thick unit of anhydrite-free, millimeter-scale dololaminite, changing upward into interlaminated carbonate and anhydrite, and ending with enterolithic, nodular to mosaic anhydrite. Subsequent cycles generally lack the dololaminite of the basal cycle. The Ratner laminite grades upward into the bedded to massive mosaic anhydrite of the Whitkow Member (lower Prairie Evaporite) in areas adjacent to reefs. Deposition of the Ratner laminite and the Whitkow Anhydrite is interpreted as genetically related to the vadose diagenetic processes, when the Elk Point Basin became restricted. The carbonate laminite in the basal Ratner was accumulated when seepage of fresh marine water through the barrier kept pace with the rate of evaporation, preventing a complete drawdown and desiccation of the basin. Precipitation of the laminated carbonate was stimulated by vadose diagenesis of the carbonate buildups and by microbial activity. Each Ratner brining-upward succession represents a progressive drawdown when the rate of basin brine evaporation exceeded seepage of marine water into the basin. Marine water seeping through the reefs was enriched in calcium cations by Mg++−Ca++ exchange with the limestone (dolomitization) and by dissolution of reef rocks, and was responsible for the precipitation of calcium sulphate in areas adjacent to the carbonate reefs through brine mixing processes. During vadose diagenesis of the Winnipegosis reefs and deposition of the Ratner laminite and Whitkow Anhydrite, brine level in the barred Elk Point Basin was controlled by the rate of seepage of marine water through the barrier, which in turn was controlled by eustatic sea level changes in the open ocean. The basal anhydrite-free dololaminite of the Ratner represents a Falling Stage System Tract when evaporative drawdown was largely compensated by seepage of marine water into the basin. The interlaminated carbonate and anhydrite of the middle and upper Ratner are interpreted as a Lowstand System Tract associated with evaporative drawdown and increased cyanobacterial activity under near-desiccation conditions when evaporation exceeded seepage. The Whitkow Anhydrite represents a Transgressive System Tract deposited during sea level rise in the open ocean that led to an increased rate of seepage, higher basin brine level and diminished microbial influence on bedding structures.


Anhydrite Middle Devonian Transgressive System Tract Lowstand System Tract Stromatactis 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jisuo Jin
    • 1
  • Katherine M. Bergman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Western OntarioCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of ReginaReginaCanada

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