Complexity in Carbonate Systems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


  • Jon Hill
  • Andrew Curtis
  • R A Wood
  • Daniel M Tetzlaff


Publication details

Title of host publicationGIS and Spatial Analysis, Vol 1 and 2
DatePublished - 2005
Number of pages6
EditorsQ Cheng, G BonhamCarter
Original languageEnglish


Carbonate sediments are often highly heterogeneous due to the numerous factors that control deposition. Several of these processes are non-linear, so that depositional stratigraphies may consequently form complicated, perhaps even chaotic, geometries. Forward modelling can help us to understand the interactions between the various processes involved. Here we present a new 3D forward model of carbonate production and deposition, which is specifically designed to test the interactions between the three main depositional controls: light intensity, wave power and carbonate supersaturation, the latter of which is unique to this model. The results of this analysis suggest that it may be impossible to predict in detail the stratigraphy of carbonate deposits due to its super-sensitivity to initial conditions or controlling parameters. This reinforces the conclusions reached using previous process models. However, unlike previous models, our model does not explicitly include nonlinear biological interactions as a control. Instead it shows that similar supersensitive behaviour may originate from physicochemical processes alone.

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