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Controls on carbonate platform architecture and reef recovery across the Palaeozoic to Mesozoic transition: A high-resolution analysis of the Great Bank of Guizhou

2020-10-01
Kelley, Brian M.
Lehrmann, Daniel J.
Yu, Meiyi
Jost, Adam B.
Meyer, Katja M.
Lau, Kimberly
Altıner, Demir
Li, Xiaowei
Minzoni, Marcello
Schaal, Ellen K.
Payne, Jonathan L.
Carbonate platforms spanning intervals of global change provide an opportunity to identify causal links between the evolution of marine environment and depositional architecture. This study investigates the controls on platform geometry across the Palaeozoic to Mesozoic transition and yields new stratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental constraints on the Great Bank of Guizhou, a latest Permian to earliest Late Triassic isolated carbonate platform in the Nanpanjiang Basin of south China. Reconstruction of platform architecture was achieved by integrating field mapping, petrography, biostratigraphy, satellite imagery analysis and delta C-13 chemostratigraphy. In contrast to previous interpretations, this study indicates that: (i) the Great Bank of Guizhou transitioned during Early Triassic time from a low-relief bank to a platform with high relief above the basin floor (up to 600 m) and steep slope angles (preserved up to 50 degrees); and (ii) the oldest-known platform-margin reef of the Mesozoic Era grew along steep, prograding clinoforms in an outer-margin to lower-slope environment. Increasing platform relief during Early Triassic time was caused by limited sediment delivery to the basin margin and a high rate of accommodation creation driven by Indosinian convergence. The steep upper Olenekian (upper Lower Triassic) slope is dominated by well-cemented grainstone, suggesting that high carbonate saturation states led to syndepositional or rapid post-depositional sediment stabilization. Latest Spathian reef initiation coincided with global cooling following Early Triassic global warmth. The first Triassic framework-building metazoans on the Great Bank of Guizhou were small calcareous sponges restricted to deeper water settings, but early Mesozoic reef builders were volumetrically dominated byTubiphytes, a fossil genus of uncertain taxonomic affinity. In aggregate, the stratigraphic architecture of the Great Bank of Guizhou records sedimentary response to long-term environmental and biological recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction, highlighting the close connections among marine chemistry, marine ecosystems and carbonate depositional systems.