Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Books and Book Chapters

Evaluating Water-Depth Variation and Mapping Depositional Facies on the Great Bahama Bank - a

Evaluating Water-Depth Variation and Mapping Depositional Facies on the Great Bahama Bank - a "Flat-Topped" Isolated Carbonate Platform

Book Title

SEPM Short Course 56



Great Bahama Bank (GBB) has long served as a frequently visited and well-studied example of a flat-topped, isolated carbonate platform. As such, GBB stands behind much of our understanding of modern processes and products of carbonate sedimentation. The geological models derived from studies on GBB are commonly used to illustrate depositional facies variations and frequently serve as reservoir analogs.

We have used Landsat TM and ETM+ imagery and an extensive set of water depth measurements to first critically evaluate the magnitude and patterns of bathymetry across GBB. We then integrated the seafloor sample data of Reijmer et al (2009) along with a small number of additional samples with the Landsat imagery compiled into ArcGIS and analyzed with eCognition to develop a depositional facies map that is more robust than previous versions. The new maps, in our opinion, can serve as a template for better characterizing GBB at all scales, highlight future research areas where "ground-truthing" is needed to further investigate facies patterns, and facilitate better use of this isolated carbonate platform as an analog for both exploration- and reservoir-scale facies analysis. As examples of information that can be extracted from the maps, we analyze the platform margins of GBB with respect to their orientation, examine the relationship between water depth and facies type, interrogate facies position and breadth across the platform top, and relook at the occurences of whitings relative to the distribution of mud on the platform.

The geospatial data for GBB are compiled into a 3.9 GB GIS database which is included on the DVD of this digital publication. The GIS contains raw data, interpretive products, and visualization examples that were produced during the development of the water depth and facies maps of GBB, including the Landsat TM imagery, DEM, images developed by combining layers in the GIS, and facies and whitings maps. In addition, the Projects folder of the GIS contains files that automatically display images, maps, and DEMs with an appropriate symbology in ArcGIS version 10.1 (.mxd), ArcGIS Explorer version (Build) 1750 and 2500 (.nmf), and GlobalMapper version 14-1 (.wks).



Publication Date





Carbonates, Bahamas, Platforms, Facies, Depositional Systems, Geographic Region





Evaluating Water-Depth Variation and Mapping Depositional Facies on the Great Bahama Bank - a
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