Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 138-143

Carbonates, Cool Water

  • Jonathan Clarke


The deposition of marine carbonate sediments in cool water environments has been long recognized (James, 1997). Despite this, the focus of study on carbonate sediments and their diagenesis has been carried out in warm, tropical waters in places such as the Caribbean, the Persian Gulf, the Great Barrier Reef, and Shark Bay. Not only do these places provide clear analogs for many ancient deposits, they are also often located in environments that are both pleasant to work in and easily accessible. Cool-water carbonates are, by way of contrast, deposited beneath some of the coldest and roughest waters of the world such as the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic. Furthermore, many of the best-exposed examples occur in Australia (Figures C25 and C26) and New Zealand, remote from European and North American centers of carbonate research.
Figure C25

The “Twelve Apostles,” sea stacks formed by erosion of the Oligo-Miocene Gambier Limestone, a cool-water carbonate on the sout ...

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