Middle-Hauterivian to Lower-Campanian sequence stratigraphy and stable isotope geochemistry of the Comanche platform, south Texas

Abstract

Carbonate platforms contain a wealth of information regarding the changing biota, sea level, ocean-chemistry, and climate of the Cretaceous Period. The Comanche platform of the northern Gulf of Mexico represents a vast, long-lived carbonate system that extended from west Texas through the Florida panhandle. In central and south Texas, excellent outcrops and an extensive suite of subsurface data provide an opportunity to document the evolution of this system, from the shoreline to the shelf-margin and slope. This study examines the changing facies, platform morphologies, and shelf-margin architectures of the mixed carbonate-siliciclastic, middle-Hauterivian to lower-Campanian interval. Stratigraphic results are integrated with stable-isotope geochemistry to document the detrimental effects of oceanic anoxic events on the carbonate platform. Seven second-order, transgressive-regressive supersequences of 3-14 Myr duration are defined in south Texas using sequence stratigraphic analysis of shelf-interior facies successions. Second-order supersequences are subdivided into several third-order depositional sequences of 1-3 Myr duration. In these sequences, facies proportions and stratal geometries of the shelf-interior are found to be the result of changing platform morphology and temporal evolution from distally-steepened ramp to rimmed-shelf depositional profiles. Shelf-margin trajectories, stratigraphic architectures, and facies proportions are a function of long-term accommodation trends expressed in second-order supersequences. These characteristics are modified by lateral variability in the underlying structural/tectonic setting and localized syndepositional faulting. The stratigraphic equivalents of oceanic anoxic events 1a, 1b, 1d, 2, and 3 are documented in the Cretaceous section of south Texas. These oceanic anoxic events coincided with maximum flooding zones of supersequences and are linked to carbonate platform drowning events on four separate occasions. The occurrence of oceanic anoxic events is found to be a fundamental driver of carbonate platform morphology, faunal composition, and facies evolution in transgressive-regressive supersequences of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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