Numerical Modeling of Ooid Size and the Problem of Neoproterozoic Giant Ooids

Dawn Y. Sumner and John P. Grotzinger

1993, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 63, p. 974-982

(The links "*" connect to definitions of the preceeding word.)
Temporal variation in ooid* size reflects important changes in physical and chemical characteristics of depositional environments. Two numerical models are used to evaluate the effects of several processes influencing ooid size: the first demonstrates that low supply of new ooid nuclei and high cortex growth rate each promote growth of large ooids. The second model demonstrates that high average water velocity and velocity gradient also enhance ooid growth.

Several Neoproterozoic* oolites* contain unusually large ooids, some reaching diameters of up to 16 mm. While lower nuclei supply and higher ooid growth rate may have prevailed prior to the evolution of carbonate*-secreting organisms, neither difference can explain the presence of giant ooids in Neoproterozoic deposits because Archean* through Mesoproterozoic* ooids rarely exceed 5 mm in diameter. In the presence of lower nuclei supply and higher growth rate, high average water velocity may have allowed growth of such large ooids. Higher average water velocity could have been due to a prevalence of carbonate ramps over rimmed shelves during Neoproterozoic time.

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Dawn Y. Sumner
Department of Geology
University of California
Davis, CA 95616