Microfabrics of Oolites and Pisolites in the Early Precambrian Carawine Dolomite of Western Australia

  • Bruce M. Simonson
  • David G. Jarvis
Part of the Frontiers in Sedimentary Geology book series (SEDIMENTARY)


The 2.5-billion-year-old Carawine Dolomite of western Australia represents one of the oldest known carbonate platforms on earth, yet it displays a diverse and well-preserved suite of microfabrics. Among the latter are thin layers rich in ooids that display good radial-concentric textures. Although rarer, pisoids with similar textures are also present, and most occur at the tops of reverse-graded layers. Based on the evidence presented in this chapter, these are interpreted as primary radial ooids and pisoids that originally consisted of high Mg calcite. The ooids formed as free-rolling grains, whereas the pisoids generally formed via in situ enlargement based on fitted and elongated fabrics. The ooids and pisoids described here are believed to have formed as thin layers in a shallow, evaporative paleoenvironment. This does not preclude the existence of oolitic shoals elsewhere on the Carawine platform, but none have been reported.

The exquisite microfabrics of the Carawine ooids and pisoids demonstrate that oolitic and other delicate carbonate microfabrics can survive dolomitization and persist for vast periods of time under favorable conditions. In addition, the grains in the Carawine Dolomite are very similar to the only other reported occurrence of early Precambrian carbonate ooids and pisoids (Beukes, 1983), but are different from those described from later Precambrian carbonates. This suggests that secular changes took place in the composition of seawater during the Precambrian that were analogous to those of the Phanerozoic.


Sedimentary Petrology Great Salt Lake Oolitic Shoal Concentric Lamella Transvaal Supergroup 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce M. Simonson
  • David G. Jarvis

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