International journal of earth sciences vol:92 issue:4 pages:624-640
In this study, progradation and the subsequent retrogradation of a late Paleocene isolated carbonate platform (Galala Mountains, Eastern Desert, Egypt) is demonstrated by variations of distinct facies associations from the platform margin in the north to the hemipelagic basin in the south. A combination of a sea-level drop and tectonic uplift at around 59 Ma (calcareous nannofossil biozone NP5) favored the initiation of the carbonate platform. From this time onwards, the facies distribution along the platform-basin transect can be subdivided into five facies belts comprising nine different facies associations. Their internal relationships and specific depositional settings are strongly coupled with the Maastrichtian-Paleocene seafloor topography, which resulted from local tectonic movements. Patch reefs and reef debris were deposited at the platform margin and the horizontally bedded limestones on the upper slope. Slumps and debris flows were stored on the lower slope. In the subhorizontal toe-of-slope facies belt, mass-flow deposits pass into calciturbidites. Further southwards in the basin, only hemipelagic marls were deposited. Between 59 and 56.2 Ma (NP5-NP8), the overall carbonate platform system prograded in several pulses. Distinct changes in facies associations from 56.2 to 55.5 Ma (NP9) resulted from rotational block movements. They led to increased subsidence at the platform margin and a coeval uplift in the toe-of-slope areas. This resulted in the retrogradation of the carbonate platform. Furthermore the patch-reef and reef-debris facies associations were substituted by the larger foraminifera shoal association. The retrogradation is also documented by a significant decrease in slump and debris-flow deposits on the slope and calciturbidites at the toe of slope.