Reconstructing atoll-like mounds from the Frasnian of Belgium

Research paper by F. Boulvain, Pierre Cornet, Anne-Christine da Silva, Gwenaël Delaite, Bernard Demany, Marc Humblet, Marjorie Renard, Marie Coen-Aubert

Indexed on: 12 Aug '04Published on: 12 Aug '04Published in: Facies


A succession of Frasnian mounds on the southern border of the Dinant Synclinorium (Belgium) was investigated for their facies architecture, sedimentary dynamics and palaeogeographic evolution. Seven mound facies were defined from the Arche (A) and Lion (L) members, each characterized by a specific range of textures and association of organisms (A2/L2: red or pink limestone with stromatactis, corals and crinoids; A3/L3: grey, pink or green limestone with stromatactis, corals and stromatoporoids; A4/L4: grey limestone with corals, peloids and dasycladaceens; A5/L5: grey microbial limestone; A6/L6: grey limestone with dendroid stromatoporoids; A7/L7: grey laminated limestone with fenestrae; and A8/L8: grey bioturbated limestone). Laterally equivalent sediments include substantial reworked material from the buildups and background sedimentation. Textures and fossils suggest that A2/L2 and A3/L3 facies developed close to storm wave base, in a subphotic environment. Facies A4/L4, occurring near fair weather wave base in the euphotic zone, includes lenses of A5/L5 with stromatolitic coatings and thrombolithes. A6/L6 corresponds to a slightly restricted environment and shows a progressive transition to fenestral limestone of A7/L7. This facies was deposited in a moderately restricted intertidal area. A8/L8 developed in a quiet lagoonal subtidal environment. The mounds started with A2/L2 or A3/L3 in which microbial lenses and algal facies A4/L4 became progressively more abundant upwards. Following 20 m of laterally undifferentiated facies, more restricted facies occur in the central part of the buildups. This geometry suggests the initiation of restricted sedimentation, sheltered by bindstone or floatstone facies. The facies interpretation shows that after construction of the lower part of the mounds during a transgression and a sea-level highstand, a lowstand forced reef growth to the margin of the buildups, initiating the development of atoll-like crowns during the subsequent transgressive stage. The persistence of restricted facies results from the balance between sea-level rise and reef growth.