Grainstone

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Grainstone in the Dunham Classification (Brassfield Formation near Fairborn, Ohio). Grains are crinoid fragments. BrassfieldEncrinite042112.jpg
Grainstone in the Dunham Classification (Brassfield Formation near Fairborn, Ohio). Grains are crinoid fragments.

Under the Dunham classification (Dunham, 1962) [1] system of limestones, a grainstone is defined as a grain-supported carbonate rock that contains less than 1% mud-grade material. This definition has recently been clarified as a carbonate-dominated rock that does not contain any carbonate mud and where less than 10% of the components are larger than 2 mm. The spaces between grains may be empty (pores) or filled by cement.

Dunham classification classification system for carbonate sedimentary rocks

The Dunham classification system for carbonate sedimentary rocks was originally devised by Robert J. Dunham in 1962, and subsequently modified by Embry and Klovan in 1971 to include coarse-grained limestones and sediments that had been organically bound at the time of deposition. The modified Dunham Classification has subsequently become the most widely employed system for the classification of carbonate sedimentary rocks with 89% of workers currently adopting this system over the alternative Folk classification scheme

Limestone Sedimentary rocks made of calcium carbonate

Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A closely related rock is dolostone, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In fact, in old USGS publications, dolostone was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolostones or magnesium-rich limestones.

Carbonate rock

Carbonate rocks are a class of sedimentary rocks composed primarily of carbonate minerals. The two major types are limestone, which is composed of calcite or aragonite (different crystal forms of CaCO3) and dolostone, which is composed of the mineral dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2).

Thin section photomicrograph of calcite cemented coarse-grained ooid grainstone 12 x2 PPL.jpg
Thin section photomicrograph of calcite cemented coarse-grained ooid grainstone

The identification of grainstone

The presence of any primary carbonate mud precludes a classification of grainstone. A study of the use of carbonate classification systems by Lokier and Al Junaibi (2016) [2] highlighted that the most common source of confusion in the classification of grainstone was to misidentify fine-grained internal micrite, generated by in-situ processes, as clay–silt grade sediment - thus resulting in the misidentification of grainstone as packstone. Failure to correctly determine the size and abundance of component grains >2 mm was also a source of error.

Packstone class of limestone in the Dunham classification system

Under the Dunham classification system of limestones, a packstone is defined as a grain-supported carbonate rock that contains 1% or more mud-grade fraction. This definition has been clarified by Lokier and Al Junaibi (2016) as a carbonate-dominated lithology containing carbonate mud in a fabric supported by a sand grade grain-size fraction and where less than 10% of the volume consists of grains >2 mm'.

Dunham's original definition of grainstone stated that it must contain less than 1% mud to fine-silt grade (<20 μm) sediment. Embry & Klovan (1971) [3] and Wright (1992) [4] reduced the permitted amount of carbonate mud in a grainstone to zero. Given that grainstone facies are interpreted to have been deposited under high-energy conditions, it is sensible to preclude the presence of primary carbonate mud from this classification.

Related Research Articles

Sedimentary rock Rock formed by the deposition and subsequent cementation of material

Sedimentary rocks are types of rock that are formed by the deposition and subsequent cementation of mineral or organic particles on the floor of oceans or other bodies of water at the Earth's surface. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause these particles to settle in place. The particles that form a sedimentary rock are called sediment, and may be composed of geological detritus (minerals) or biological detritus. Before being deposited, the geological detritus was formed by weathering and erosion from the source area, and then transported to the place of deposition by water, wind, ice, mass movement or glaciers, which are called agents of denudation. Biological detritus was formed by bodies and parts of dead aquatic organisms, as well as their fecal mass, suspended in water and slowly piling up on the floor of water bodies. Sedimentation may also occur as dissolved minerals precipitate from water solution.

Lithology science of rocks

The lithology of a rock unit is a description of its physical characteristics visible at outcrop, in hand or core samples, or with low magnification microscopy. Physical characteristics include colour, texture, grain size, and composition. Lithology may refer to either a detailed description of these characteristics, or a summary of the gross physical character of a rock. Lithology is the basis of subdividing rock sequences into individual lithostratigraphic units for the purposes of mapping and correlation between areas. In certain applications, such as site investigations, lithology is described using a standard terminology such as in the European geotechnical standard Eurocode 7.

Mudstone Fine grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds

Mudstone, a type of mudrock, is a fine-grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Grain size is up to 0.063 millimetres (0.0025 in) with individual grains too small to be distinguished without a microscope. With increased pressure over time, the platy clay minerals may become aligned, with the appearance of fissility or parallel layering. This finely bedded material that splits readily into thin layers is called shale, as distinct from mudstone. The lack of fissility or layering in mudstone may be due to either original texture or the disruption of layering by burrowing organisms in the sediment prior to lithification. Mud rocks such as mudstone and shale account for some 65% of all sedimentary rocks. Mudstone looks like hardened clay and, depending upon the circumstances under which it was formed, it may show cracks or fissures, like a sun-baked clay deposit.

Mudrock Class of fine grained siliciclastic sedimentary rocks

Mudrocks are a class of fine grained siliciclastic sedimentary rocks. The varying types of mudrocks include: siltstone, claystone, mudstone, slate, and shale. Most of the particles of which the stone is composed are less than 0.0625 mm and are too small to study readily in the field. At first sight the rock types look quite similar; however, there are important differences in composition and nomenclature. There has been a great deal of disagreement involving the classification of mudrocks. There are a few important hurdles to classification, including:

  1. Mudrocks are the least understood, and one of the most understudied sedimentary rocks to date
  2. It is difficult to study mudrock constituents, due to their diminutive size and susceptibility to weathering on outcrops
  3. And most importantly, there is more than one classification scheme accepted by scientists

The Folk classification is a technical descriptive classification of sedimentary rocks devised by Robert L. Folk, an influential sedimentary petrologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas.

Clastic rock type of sedimentary rock

Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals and rock. A clast is a fragment of geological detritus, chunks and smaller grains of rock broken off other rocks by physical weathering. Geologists use the term clastic with reference to sedimentary rocks as well as to particles in sediment transport whether in suspension or as bed load, and in sediment deposits.

Wackestone A mud-supported carbonate rock that contains greater than 10% grains

Under the Dunham classification system of limestones, a wackestone is defined as a mud-supported carbonate rock that contains greater than 10% grains. Most recently, this definition has been clarified as a carbonate-dominated rock in which the carbonate mud component supports a fabric comprising 10% or more very fine-sand grade or larger grains but where less than 10% of the rock is formed of grains larger than sand grade .

Micrite limestone constituent formed of calcareous particles formed by the recrystallization of lime mud

Micrite is a limestone constituent formed of calcareous particles ranging in diameter up to four μm formed by the recrystallization of lime mud.

Floatstone

Floatstone is a type of carbonate rock.

Iron-rich sedimentary rocks

Iron-rich sedimentary rocks are sedimentary rocks which contain 15% or more iron. However, most sedimentary rocks contain iron in varying degrees. The majority of these rocks were deposited during specific geologic time periods: The Precambrian, the early Paleozoic, and the middle to late Mesozoic. Overall, they make up a very small portion of the total sedimentary record.

Calcilutite is a type of limestone that is composed of predominantly, more than 50 percent, of either clay-size or both silt-size and clay-size detrital (transported) carbonate grains. These grains consist either of fossil fragments, ooids, intraclasts, pellets, other grains, or some combination of them. The term calcilutite was originally proposed in 1903 by Grabau as a part of his calcilutite, calcarenite and calcirudite classification system based upon the size of the detrital grains composing a limestone. In the original classification of limestone according to the dominant grain-size, calcisiltites were not named and are classified as calcilutite. In this classification, which the majority of geologists follow, a calcilutite consists of both silt- and clay-size, less than 0.062 mm in diameter, grains. It is the carbonate equivalent of a mudstone. Calcilutites can accumulate in a wide variety of marine and lacustrine environments.

Rudstone

Rudstone is a type of carbonate rock.

Bafflestone

Bafflestone is a type of carbonate rock.

A Boundstone is a special type of carbonate rock in the Dunham classification

A Bindstone is a special type of carbonate rock in the Dunham classification. The term Bindstone did not appear in the original Dunham classification from 1962 and was introduced by Embry and Klovan 1971 in the modified Dunham classification.

A framestone is a special type of carbonate rock in the Dunham classification.

References

Thin section photomicrograph of calcite cemented ooid grainstone 13 x2 PPL.jpg
Thin section photomicrograph of calcite cemented ooid grainstone
  1. Dunham, R.J. (1962) Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional texture. In: Classification of Carbonate Rocks (Ed. W.E. Ham), Am. Assoc. Pet. Geol. Mem., 1, 108–121.
  2. Lokier, Stephen W.; Al Junaibi, Mariam (2016-12-01). "The petrographic description of carbonate facies: are we all speaking the same language?". Sedimentology. 63 (7): 1843–1885. doi:10.1111/sed.12293. ISSN   1365-3091.
  3. Embry, A.F. and Klovan, J.E. (1971) A Late Devonian reef tract on Northeastern Banks Island, NWT. Bull. Can. Pet. Geol., 19, 730–781.
  4. Wright, V.P. (1992) A revised classification of limestones. Sed. Geol., 76, 177–185.