Advances in Earth Science ›› 2018, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (10): 1005-1023. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2018.10.1005.

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The Genesis, Classification, Problems and Prospects of Microbial Carbonates:Implications from the Cambrian Carbonate of North China Platform

Long Wang 1( ), Latif Khalid 1, 2, Riaz Muhammad 1, Xiaoye Liu 1   

  1. 1.School of Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
    2.National Centre of Excellence in Geology, University of Peshawar, Peshawar 25130, Pakistan
  • Received:2018-04-12 Revised:2018-09-04 Online:2018-10-10 Published:2018-11-16
  • About author:

    First author:Wang Long(1990-),male,Huining County,Gansu Province, Ph.D student. Research areas include sedimentology and petroleum geology.

  • Supported by:
    Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China "Study on the diversity of sedimentary fabrics of cambrian microbial mound on the northern margin of the North China Platform"(No.41472090).

Long Wang, Latif Khalid, Riaz Muhammad, Xiaoye Liu. The Genesis, Classification, Problems and Prospects of Microbial Carbonates:Implications from the Cambrian Carbonate of North China Platform[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2018, 33(10): 1005-1023.

Currently, sedimentologists focus on the challenging issue of microbial carbonates, which are regarded as "one of the sedimentary rocks most difficult to study", having complicated sedimentary fabric. Their characteristic features closely related to microbial activity, distributed over a long period of geological time, and formed in diversified sedimentary environments. The main research concentrations are the calcified microbial mats and biofilms in geological records as the products of lithification and diagenesis. Starting from the origin, this paper systematically reviewed and explained the processes dwelling within two types of microbial communities, the thinner biofilm and the thicker microbial mat, which enabled them to convert into microbial carbonates through biomineralization and lithification. This study proposed that the existence of multiple microbial mats was another important cause for the diversification and complexity of microbial carbonates in addition to its complex depositional process. Moreover, the sedimentary characteristics and classification of different types of microbial carbonates were reviewed, exemplifying the Cambrian microbial carbonates in the North China Platform. These microbial carbonates are suggested to be placed under "bindstone" after Embry and Kloven, which can be further divided into 5 types, stromatolites, thrombolites, oncolites, laminites and leiolites. Dendrolite is not categorized as a separate class, instead attributed to thrombolites. The microbial carbonates may possess good source rock potential because of the enriched organic content, and may also serve as hydrocarbon reservoirs because of certain microbial textures and fabrics leading to significant porosity and permeability. Because of their biomineralization processes related to microbial activity, the microbial carbonates are not only an important window to understand the evolution of the earth's surface environment, but also capable of forming large-scale reservoirs, and their scientific and economic values are self-evident.

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