Existing models for dolomitization emphasize that penecontemporaneous dolomitization can occur in both subtidal and supratidal environments if the necessary chemical and physical factors favorable for the development of magnesium-rich hypersaline waters exist. Holocene shallow-water hypersaline environments that have the potential to produce dolomite without deposition of more soluble evaporite minerals are found in Shark Bay, Australia, and on the Great Bahama Bank. These hypersalinity systems are characterized by near-vertical isosalinity layers of increasing concentration landward from the open ocean and show little or no relationship to bottom topography. I suggest that a similar but larger scale epicontinentalsalinity system covering the Late Cambrian and Early Ordovician carbonate continental shelf produced a broad wedge of subtidally deposited dolomite in the eastern half of the United States from Mexico to Canada. The distribution of limestone and dolomite in this region is closely keyed to the salinity gradient and accounts for the natural progression from a normal marine limestone facies through a transition zone to a highly saline dolomite facies phase. Algal stromatolite mats and domes occupied low-energy niches in both the limestone and dolomite facies, whereas stratiform algal stromatolites were confined to the areas of moderate energy within the dolomite facies.
|Title||Dolomitization model for Upper Cambrian and Lower Ordovician carbonate rocks in the eastern United States|
|Authors||Leonard D. Harris|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|