Title

Lower Carboniferous Peritidal Carbonates and Associated Evaporites Adjacent to the Leinster Massif, Southeast Irish Midlands

Abstract

Analysis of a 275 m-thick section in the Milford Borehole, GSI-91-25, from County Carlow, Ireland, has revealed an unusual sequence of shallow subtidal, peritidal and sabkha facies in rocks of mid?-late Chadian to late Holkerian (Viséan, Lower Carboniferous) age. Sedimentation occurred on an inner ramp setting, adjacent to the Leinster Massif. The lower part of the sequence (late Chadian age) above the basal subtidal bioclastic unit is dominated by oolite sand facies associations. These include a lower regressive dolomitized, oolitic peloidal mobile shoal, and an upper, probably transgressive, backshoal oolite sand. A 68 m-thick, well-developed peritidal sequence is present between the oolitic intervals. These rocks consist of alternating stromatolitic fenestral mudstone, dolomite and organic shale, with evaporite pseudomorphs and subaerial exposure horizons containing pedogenic features. In the succeeding Arundian-Holkerian strata, transgressive-regressive carbonate units are recognized. These comprise high-energy, backshoal subtidal cycles of argillaceous skeletal packstones, bioclastic grainstones with minor oolites and algal wackestones to grainstones and infrequent algal stromatolite horizons. The study recognizes for the first time the peritidal and sabkha deposits in Chadian rocks adjacent to the Leinster Massif in the eastern Irish Midlands. These strata appear to be coeval with similar evaporite-bearing rocks in County Wexford that are developed on the southern margin of this landmass, and similar depositional facies exist further to the east in the South Wales Platform, south of St. George's Land, and in Belgium, south of the Brabant Massif. The presence of evaporites in the peritidal facies suggests that dense brines may have formed adjacent to the Leinster Massif. These fluids may have been involved in regional dolomitization of Chadian and possibly underlying Courceyan strata. They may also have been a source of high salinity fluids associated with nearby base-metal sulphide deposits.

Department(s)

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Sponsor(s)

American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Jefferson Smurfit Corporation
National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Keywords and Phrases

Lower Carboniferous; Biostratigraphy; Lithostratigraphic Correlation; Microfacies; Peritidal

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Evaporites

Geographic Coverage

Ireland

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2005 John Wiley & Sons, All rights reserved.


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