Lower and Middle Devonian carbonate-platform and outer-shelf-basin deposits flanking Railroad Valley, Nevada Public Deposited

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  • Lower and Middle Devonian strata crop out on the former stable carbonate platform that existed in the Quinn Canyon Range, through the carbonate shelf edge in the Pancake Range, to the carbonate slope and outer-shelf basin in the Reveille Range. The strata of the Reveille Range record a transition from deposition on the carbonate platform in the Lower Devonian, to deposition at the carbonate platform margin, to deposition in the outer-shelf basin in the Middle Devonian. Conodonts collected from the base of the Sevy Dolomite yield a kindlei-Zone age, an indication that the Sevy Dolomite is younger than previously recognized. Throughout the Lower and Middle Devonian, carbonate strata of the Pancake Range and Quinn Canyon Range were deposited on the shallow carbonate platform. Conodonts collected from the base of the Lower Alternating Member of the Simonson Dolomite in the Quinn Canyon Range have a slightly older age (serotinus- to costatus Zone) than other eastern Nevada locations. The Lower Devonian Sevy Dolomite was deposited in a shallow carbonate subtidal through supratidal environment and is similar in outcrop throughout the ranges. Petrographic studies show that the samples are lithologically and diagenetically similar, indicating a similar intensity of dolomitization from the precursor calcareous mudstone. The Formation classifies as bioturbated mudstone and wackestone. The Middle Devonian Simonson Dolomite was deposited in shallow carbonate subtidal through supratidal environments. The Simonson Dolomite was affected by Milankovitch Cycles, glacioeustatic oscillations of sea level, producing a characteristic rhythmic bedding. The Middle Devonian Sadler Ranch Formation and Denay Limestone are lithologically and diagenetically different from the shallow water deposits of the Lone Mountain Dolomite, Sevy Dolomite, and Simonson Dolomite. The Sadler Ranch Formation and Denay Limestone were deposited at the carbonate platform edge and on the carbonate slope and outer-shelf basin, respectively. The Sadler Ranch Formation is dolomitized and may be classified as fossiliferous wackestone and mudstone. The Denay Limestone is not dolomitized and is classified as mudstone and fossiliferous grainstone and packstone. Dolomitization in the Paleozoic strata of Nevada is a secondary feature, an early diagenetic replacement of strata which were originally limestone. This replacement process was controlled by transgressions and regressions of the shoreline. Shallow carbonate platform deposits (shelfal and tidal-flat) are dolomitized, whereas deep water outer-shelf basin and slope deposits are not.
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