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Analogs for Carbonate Deposition in Early Rift Settings

By Paul M. (Mitch) Harris, James Ellis and Sam Purkis

Abstract

Driven by requests to provide carbonate analogs for subsurface hydrocarbon exploration in rift settings, we have identified and described select examples, summarized them from a carbonate perspective, and assembled them into a GIS database. The analogs show a spectrum of sizes, shapes and styles of deposition for lacustrine and marginal marine settings, wherein the types of carbonates inferred from seismic and cores (emphasis on microbialites, tufas, and travertines) can be illustrated.

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    Abstract

    Driven by requests to provide carbonate analogs for subsurface hydrocarbon exploration in rift settings, we have identified and described select examples, summarized them from a carbonate perspective, and assembled them into a GIS database. The analogs (Fig. 1) show a spectrum of sizes, shapes and styles of deposition for lacustrine and marginal marine settings, wherein the types of carbonates inferred in the subsurface from seismic and cores (emphasis on microbialites and tufas) can be illustrated.

    This introductory chapter and overviews of each analog provide the basic descriptions of the analogs and their potential application. The analog examples are grouped as Early Rift Lakes, Other Lakes, and Marine Basins. The Early Rift Lake examples are all from East Africa and include: Lakes Turkana, Bogoria, Natron and Magadi, Manyara, and Tanganyika. Other Lakes includes four examples from the Western United States (Great Salt Lake and high lake level Lake Bonneville, Mono Lake and high lake level Russell Lake, Pyramid Lake and high lake level Lake Lahontan, and Searles Lake) and two from Australia (Lakes Clifton and Thetis). The Marine Basins are Shark Bay from Australia and the Red Sea. Landsat images and DEMs for each analog delineate present and past lake/basin margins, and for several examples the shorelines representing different lake levels can be compared to illustrate changes in size, shape, and configuration that may impact the presence of carbonates. A subset of the examples illustrates the location and various styles of carbonate deposition within lacustrine and marine settings. Links

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