You are on page 1of 43

Sedimentology (2016) 63, 18431885 doi: 10.1111/sed.

12293

The petrographic description of carbonate facies: are we all


speaking the same language?
S T E P H E N W . L O K I E R * and M A R I A M A L J U N A I B I
*Petroleum Geoscience Program, The Petroleum Institute, PO Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, UAE
(E-mail: slokier@pi.ac.ae)
Zakum Development Company (ZADCO), PO Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Associate Editor Peir Pufahl

ABSTRACT
Both academia and industry require consistent and repeatable carbonate litho-
facies classifications as a primary input to the construction of depositional,
diagenetic and reservoir models, and the Dunham System has long been held
to satisfy this requirement. However, ambiguities in the petrographic descrip-
tion of carbonates are widespread. This study investigates the classification of
carbonate lithofacies across academia and industry at a wide range of experi-
ence levels in order to quantitatively assess reproducibility. Some 241 volun-
teers, with over 4200 years of combined experience, examined a range of
synthetic rock textures and natural lithologies and assigned textures as they
saw appropriate. The results of the study identify the situations where classifi-
cation ambiguities and inconsistencies are most common. The Dunham classi-
fication system was proved to be the scheme of choice with 89% of the
classifications using some form of the Dunham system. However, all of the 24
samples yielded a wide variability in assigned texture with between 22 and
131 different names being assigned to a single specimen. The most common
causes of inconsistency are; errors in assessing the mode of support, mistakes
in estimating the size and volume of grains within the lithology, and confusion
as to how to classify lithologies in which more than one texture is present. The
textures of the modified Dunham Classification System are redefined in order
to clarify any classification criteria that have been identified as points of confu-
sion. Detailed classification guidelines are offered in order to minimize the
possibility of misidentification or confusion. It is suggested that the term baf-
flestone is redundant and should be removed from the classification system.
The adoption of these guidelines will increase confidence, reliability and
value in the petrographic classification of carbonate lithologies, thereby
enhancing communication and facilitating the development of more realisti-
cally constrained depositional, diagenetic and reservoir models.
Keywords Carbonate classification, Dunham, petrography, rock typing,
sedimentary petrology.

INTRODUCTION Embry & Klovan (1971), has been adopted as the


most widely employed classification scheme for
Consistency and reproducibility in the classifica- the systematic description of carbonate thin sec-
tion of petrographic thin sections are vital to the tions. Yet, despite the fact that the divisions of
communication of knowledge in, and between, this scheme are clearly defined and well-esta-
academia and industry. The Dunham classifica- blished, ambiguities in the petrographic descrip-
tion (Dunham, 1962), with modifications by tion of thin sections still occur.
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists 1843
1844 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

Anecdotal evidence has suggested that there is the use of those terms that are already most
a particular disconnect between the classifica- widely adopted within the community.
tion schemes used in academia and those
applied in the hydrocarbon industry. Such vari-
ability is an understandable, and natural, conse- CARBONATE CLASSIFICATION
quence of the different objectives and driving SCHEMES
factors for studies in these two environments.
Within the hydrocarbon industry, the overriding Numerous classification schemes have been pro-
focus of petrographic studies is, inevitably, to posed for the description of carbonate rocks
characterize the porosity and permeability rela- (Bramkamp & Powers, 1958; Folk, 1959, 1962;
tionships, and, hence, reservoir quality, of the Dunham, 1962; Leighton & Pendexter, 1962; Nel-
lithofacies under consideration. In the academic son et al., 1962; Todd, 1966; Embry & Klovan,
sphere, the objectives of studies are more varied; 1971; Wright, 1992; Hallsworth & Knox, 1999).
projects may focus on palaeoenvironmental Of these, the Folk (1959, 1962) and Dunham
reconstructions, sequence stratigraphic applica- (1962) classification schemes have been the most
tions, diagenetic processes, etc. widely adopted. Interestingly, originally the
Of course, the hydrocarbon sector does not Folk classification was most widely used in aca-
work in isolation. A mutually beneficial partner- demia whilst the Dunham classification was
ship with academia has long been the norm; employed in industry; however, in recent years
driving knowledge forward whilst also providing there has been a pronounced shift by academics
training for future industry professionals and to the Dunham (1962) system, as modified by
generating substantial datasets. Oil and gas com- Embry & Klovan (1971). Separate schemes have
panies also extensively draw on the expertise of also been devised for mixed siliciclasticcarbo-
specialist consultancies. With such a complex nate lithologies (Mount, 1985) and dolomitic
relationship between these various stakeholders, textures (Leighton & Pendexter, 1962; Friedman,
it is no surprise that discrepancies in petro- 1965; Bissell & Chilingar, 1967; Randazzo &
graphic descriptions of carbonate microfacies are Zachos, 1984; Sibley & Gregg, 1987).
common. Within the hydrocarbon sector, consis- One of the greatest challenges for any lime-
tency in petrographic classification is particu- stone classification system is that carbonate sed-
larly important because most petroleum reservoir iments are strongly susceptible to a wide range
modelling systems employ rock-typing schemes of diagenetic processes that can commence
that are strongly biased to the allocation of a rock immediately on deposition (Folk, 1959; Tucker
unit to a specific category within the context of & Wright, 1990). While some attempt has been
the Dunham classification scheme. made to integrate these processes into existing
This study has been undertaken in order to classification systems (Wright, 1992), these have
quantitatively assess consistency in the petro- not been widely adopted. A further complica-
graphic description of carbonate thin sections. tion is introduced through the process of biotur-
The project aims to establish the circumstances bation. The activities of burrowing organisms
under which inconsistencies and confusion produce a range of fabrics that add further com-
occur. Once these have been recognized, it is plexity to attempts at classification.
then possible to propose appropriate, informed, It lies beyond the remit of the current study to
guidelines that can be applied in order to document all of the proposed carbonate classifi-
increase confidence and reliability in petro- cation systems. However, given the extensive
graphic carbonate classification. Enhanced con- adoption of the Folk (1959, 1962) and Dunham
sistency and reproducibility in the petrographic (1962) schemes, these shall now be briefly
classification of carbonate sediments will allow reviewed.
for an improved exchange of data both within,
and between, industry and academia. This will,
The Folk classification system
in turn, result in higher quality science and the
development of more realistically constrained The Folk classification scheme was established
reservoir models. This study does not aim to specifically as a system for classifying marine
introduce yet more terminology to a field where limestones in a manner akin to that used previ-
many classification systems have already been ously for the classification of sandstones (Folk,
offered to the community. The aim is, instead, 1959). This is, perhaps, a consequence of the
to provide informed guidance in order to clarify earlier work by Folk (1954) with the
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1845

classification of terrigenous rocks based upon


textural maturity. The premise behind the

Ghosts of grains
not discernible
scheme is that the relative proportions of micrite

Crystalline
dolomite
(calcite ooze with grains of 1 to 4 lm in diame-
Replacement dolomites
(prefix with crystal size)

ter) and sparite reflect the degree of sorting, i.e.


the hydraulic regime at the time of deposition.
The classes within the Folk classification are
defined on the basis of the nature of the grains
Intraclastic dolomite
Intraclasts dominate

Bioclasts dominate
Biogenic dolomite

Peloidal dolomite
Peloids dominate
Oolitic dolomite
Ghosts of grains

Ooids dominate
[allochems] and the interstitial material. Four
discernible

types of allochems (intraclasts, ooids [oolites],


bioclasts [fossils] and peloids [pellets]) and two
categories of interstitial material (micrite [calcite
ooze] matrix) or sparite [sparry calcite cement])
were recognized square brackets denote the
original terminology used by Folk.
structures

Biolithite
organic
growth
In situ

The classes within the Folk classification sys-


tem are grouped into four overarching limestone
types (Fig. 1). Grain-supported limestones com-
Bioturbated

prising allochems cemented by sparry calcite


<1% grains

Dismicrite
Micrite

cement and with an absence of micrite are ter-


med sparry allochemical rocks. Limestones con-
Microcrystalline rocks

taining 10% or more allochems along with a


micritic matrix are defined as a microcrystalline
< 10% grains

Intraclast-bearing micrite

Ooid-bearing micrite
Intraclasts dominate

allochemical rock, subordinate sparite may be


Bioclasts dominate

Peloids dominate
Bioclastic micrite

Bioclastic micrite
Ooids dominate
Limestones, partly dolomitized limestones and primary dolomites

present. Where a limestone is dominated by


1-10% grains

micrite with less than 10% allochems, this is


termed a microcrystalline rock. Limestones com-
prised of in situ organic growth structures, such
as coral, are labelled as biolithite with a prefix
defining the binding organism.
The subdivision of limestones into these four
Microcrystalline Allochemical rocks

limestone types on the basis of sorting ignores


Median grains

Intramicrite

Fig. 1. The Folk classification system (modified from Folk, 1959).


<25% intraclasts, <25% ooids, ratio of bioclasts to peloids of 3:1 - 1:3
Biomicrite
Oomicrite

the nature of the constituent allochems. Folk


<25% intraclasts, <25% ooids, ratio of bioclasts to peloids of > 3:1

<25% intraclasts, <25% ooids, ratio of bioclasts to peloids of < 1:3


< 1 mm

addressed this issue by subdividing these


Sparite < micrite

families into a total of 22 classes on the basis of


Biopelmicrite

Pelmicrite

allochem median grain size and the relative


abundance of intraclasts, ooids, bioclasts and
Intramicrudite
Median grains

peloids (Fig. 1). A variety of textural and com-


Biomicrudite
Oomicrudite
<25% intraclasts, >25% ooids
> 1 mm

positional modifiers are proposed for the Folk


classification system. In the case of rocks with
>25% intraclasts
> 10% grains

greater than 10% dolomite; the prefix primary


dolomite indicates original dolomites, dolomi-
tized denotes replacement dolomite and dolo-
Median grains

Intrasparite

mitic implies an uncertain origin for the


Biosparite
Oosparite
< 1 mm
Sparry Allochemical rocks

dolomite. Where the median grain size is greater


than 1 mm (coarse sand) then the suffix rudite
Sparite > micrite

Biopelsparite

should be appended to the classification. Pre-


Pelsparite

fixes of sandy, silty or clayey are proposed


where more than 10% of the respective terri-
Intrasparrudite
Median grains

Biosparrudite
Oosparrudite

genous component is present. Other modifiers


> 1 mm

are also encouraged, for example, pyritic, cherty,


oolitic, bioclastic, gastropod, etc. Folk states that
where a texture lies on the border between two
classes then hybrid names may be applied.
Where microcrystalline rocks have been
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1846 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

Over 66% micrite matrix Over 66% spar cement


Subequal spar
1050% Rounded &
01% grains 110% grains >50% grains & micrite Sorting poor Sorting good
grains abraded
Micrite & Bioclastic Sparse Packed Poorly washed Unsorted Sorted Rounded
dismicrite micrite biomicrite biomicrite biosparite biosparite biosparite biosparite

Fig. 2. The Folk textural spectrum classification system (modified from Folk, 1962).

disturbed by processes such as bioturbation, that there was little adoption of the spectral sub-
soft-sediment deformation or traction currents division classification. Several other minor to
then these are termed dismicrite. moderate adjustments to the original Folk classi-
Limestone lithologies that have been com- fication system have been proposed (Imbrie &
pletely dolomitized are considered as a separate, Purdy, 1962; Todd, 1966; F uchtbauer, 1974) but
fifth, carbonate type replacement dolomites. have not been adopted.
These are subdivided into an additional five
classes on the basis of the recognition of relic
The Dunham classification system and
allochems (Fig. 1) and are further qualified with
subsequent modifications
the addition of a prefix denoting crystal size.
Folk (1959) discusses recrystallization at some The original Dunham classification system was
length before concluding that: . . .its over-all developed with the explicit objective of provid-
volumetric importance in limestones is consid- ing convenient depositional texture based class
ered minor; therefore, unless definitive names that focus attention on the textural pro-
evidence of recrystallization is observed, spar perties that are most significant for interpreting
should be considered as primary. For this the environment of deposition (Dunham, 1962).
reason, the classification does not apply to Specifically, the hydraulic environment, i.e.
recrystallized rocks. energy level, was assessed based on the reten-
Folk (1962) proposed a modification to this tion of mud within the sample. The scheme was
original classification scheme in order to pro- originally developed based on observations both
duce a new scheme with eight sequential classes from petrographic thin sections and hand speci-
representing a gradational spectrum reflecting mens of both natural and artificial (laboratory
increasing energy regimes at the time of deposi- manufactured) sediments and rocks.
tion (Fig. 2). This simplified scheme ignored the The criteria used to define the classes within
composition of the grains, instead focusing on the Dunham classification are; the supporting
the relative proportions of micrite, spar and fabric of the original sediment, the presence or
grains and the degree of sorting and rounding. absence of mud (defined as the fraction less than
Having laid out this alternative classification 20 lm in size) and evidence that the sediments
system, Folk (1962) then went on to highlight were organically-bound at the time of deposition
the limitations inherent therein, drawing parti- (Fig. 3). Mud-supported carbonate rocks contain-
cular attention to the positioning of boundaries ing less than 10% grains (based on point count-
between classes. It is, perhaps, for this reason ing where intraparticle voids are counted as

Depositional texture is recognizable Depositional texture is not


No evidence that the original components were bound together at the time recognizable
Evidence that
of deposition (Should be subdivided using
original
Contains 1% or more mud classifications designed to bear
Contains <1% mud components were
(particles of clay and fine silt size - <20 m) on physical textures or
bound together at
Mud-supported diagenesis)
the time of
Less than 10% More than 10% Grain-supported Grain-supported Crystalline limestone
deposition
grains grains or
Mudstone Wackestone Packstone Grainstone Boundstone Crystalline dolomite

Fig. 3. The original Dunham classification system (modified from Dunham, 1962).

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1847

grains) are termed mudstone. Where the carbon-

components were
organically-bound

mode of binding
Autochthonous Limestones - Original components were organically-bound

not identifiable
deposition but
at the time of
Evidence that

Boundstone
ate lithology is mud-supported but the number

original
of grains supported by the matrix exceeds 10%,
the texture is named as a wackestone. Moving to
grain-supported fabrics, a grain-supported lime-
stone containing 1% or more mud-grade fraction
is a packstone whilst a grain-supported carbon-

rock is supported
framework - the
organisms that
ate rock with <1% mud is a grainstone. Where

Framestone
by the fossil
build a rigid

framework
Bound by

there is any evidence that carbonate sediments


were bound at the time of deposition then they
during deposition

are labelled as boundstone. If the original depo-


sitional fabric of a carbonate rock cannot be
identified, then this is termed either as a crys-
encrust and bind -

supported by the
organisms that

talline dolomite or a crystalline limestone as

Fig. 4. The Embry & Klovan modification of the Dunham classification system (modified from Embry & Klovan, 1971).
Bindstone
the rock is
Bound by

appropriate. Dunham specifically states that,


matrix

where appropriate, these six textural class


names are intended to be combined with modi-
fiers describing grains and mineralogy.
Embry & Klovan (1971) recognized that the
organisms that act

Dunham classification scheme lacked detail with


Bafflestone
Bound by

as baffles

respect to the description of organically-bound


and coarse-grained limestones. To address the
former issue, these authors proposed the subdi-
vision of the Dunham boundstone category on
the basis of the mode in which the sediment
supported by

size fraction
Allochthonous Limestones - No evidence that the original components were bound together at

the >2 mm

Rudstone
Greater than 10% of the

was organically-bound. Autochthonous organi-


components are >2 mm

Grain-

cally-baffled sediments are termed bafflestone,


matrix-supported sediments that have been sta-
bilized by encrustation and binding are labelled
as bindstone and sediments with a rigid fossil-
Floatstone
supported
Matrix-

supported framework are called framestone


(Fig. 4). The identification of these structures is
problematic at the limited scale of a thin section
and typically requires examination of outcrop
No lime mud

Grainstone

exposures and/or core. Where the mode of bind-


ing is not identifiable then the original Dunham
Grain-supported
the time of deposition

classification term boundstone is retained. In


Less than 10% of the components are >2 mm

order to address the issue of coarse-grained


allochthonous limestones, defined as lithologies
Packstone

where more than 10% of the components are


greater than 2 mm in diameter, Embry & Klovan
(1971) proposed the terms rudstone and float-
Contains lime mud (<30 m)

stone (Fig. 4). Rudstones are defined as textures


(>30 m 2 mm) (>30 m 2 mm)
Greater than 10%

where the >2 mm grain-size fraction supports


Wackestone

the framework, floatstones are matrix-supported


grains

textures with the >2 mm grains appearing to


float in a finer-grained matrix. As with the
Mud-supported

original Dunham classification, modifiers are


employed to enhance the classification. Embry &
Klovan (1971) also note that the class names in
Less than 10%

Mudstone

the modified classification can be used as textu-


grains

ral modifiers to describe the matrix. In addition


to the modifications detailed above, Embry &
Klovan (1971) also redefined mud matrix as
material with a diameter of <30 lm.
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1848 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

The new growth fabric terminology introduced burial-related pressure-solution of grain-sup-


by Embry & Klovan (1971) is completely inter- ported fabrics results in partial-suturing at grain
pretive in nature. As such, it is inconsistent contacts, as microstylolites, the class condensed
with the purely descriptive, non-genetic, termi- grainstone is used. Continued development of
nology of the original (Dunham, 1962) classifica- microstylolites will produce a fabric where the
tion scheme. Recognizing this discrepancy, majority of the grains are sutured to form a texture
along with the difficulties inherent in the inter- termed fitted grainstone. Both of these diagenetic
pretation of the mode of binding purely on the grainstone textures are principally non-oblitera-
basis of growth form, Insalaco (1998) proposed a tive. The complete obliteration of a primary lime-
modified classification for allochthonous and stone fabric, either through recrystallization,
autochthonous fabrics that is descriptive in replacement, or a combination of the two, will
basis. This modified scheme increases the num- produce a sparry calcite texture termed sparstone
ber of identified growth fabric categories from (crystals >10 lm in diameter) or microsparstone
three to five in order to better characterize the (crystal size 10 lm).
complete range of growth forms (Fig. 5). While Wright (1992) proposed a further redefinition of
the Insalaco (1998) scheme was developed to the grain size of the matrix as mud to silt-grade
specifically classify scleractinian corals, it could material with a diameter of <62 lm, this author
be used to describe growth fabrics produced by also proposed that the Dunham class name mud-
a range of organisms. stone be replaced with the term calcimudstone,
The categories within the Insalaco (1998) defined as: lithified material composed of greater
modification are defined on the basis of a growth than 90%, by volume, silt and clay-grade calcite.
form contributing more than 60% of the total It was also suggested that the class bindstone
skeletal volume of the autochthonous rock. (Embry & Klovan, 1971) be replaced with bound-
Facies dominated by platy to tabular colonies stone on the basis that this is more grammatically
with dominant growth in the horizontal plane, correct. Wright (1992) believed that a separate
and a width to height ratio between 5:1 and description of the matrix of floatstones and rud-
30:1, are termed platestones. Where colonies are stones, as proposed by Embry & Klovan (1971), is
thinner and more sheet-like or lamellar (width excessive and that the term rudstone, in particu-
to height ratio >30:1) then the term sheetstone is lar, may need refining. However, no modification
employed. Where vertical growth of the colony was proposed. Numerous further major and
is dominant, with little, if any, lateral growth, minor modifications and refinements of the Dun-
then this forms a pillarstone. Insalaco (1998) ham classification system have been proposed
subdivides the pillarstone category into dense (Tsien, 1982; Cuffey, 1985; Hallsworth & Knox,
and sparse pillarstones but does not formally 1999; Lucia, 2007; Reijmer et al., 2009).
define these subdivisions. Domal and irregular
massive colonies that exhibit growth in all free
directions form a category designated as dome- METHODOLOGY
stone. Where no single growth form dominates
the skeletal volume of the autochthonous rock, The project was divided into two phases. The
then the label mixstone is adopted. For first phase involved a limited number of partici-
allochthonous facies, the terms floatstone and pants and was undertaken with the aim of
rudstone are redefined as lithofacies where more assessing variations in the results of carbonate
than 10% of the bioclastic and lithoclastic reefal classification using photomicrographs compared
material is greater than 1 cm in size. with those from petrographic thin sections. In
A further modification of the Dunham classifi- order to avoid the heterogeneity that is inherent
cation scheme was proposed by Wright (1992) within thin sections produced from naturally
with the principal intention of introducing more occurring carbonate sediments, it was decided
detail to the description and classification of dia- to create and use 10 synthetic carbonate rock
genetic textures. Limestone dominated by fibrous textures rather than employing natural litho-
marine cements and lacking a grain or in situ bio- logies. In addition to ensuring a consistency
genic framework is termed cementstone (Fig. 6). between samples, the use of synthetic facies also
Marine cements in cementstones are typically allowed a strict control on component ratios and
replaced or recrystallized but remain recogniz- sediment textures. A range of component
able; depositional and biological textures remain grains were used in the creation of the syn-
unaltered the texture is non-obliterative. Where thetic textures; ooids, whole and fragmented
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Allochthonous Limestones - No evidence that the original components were bound together at the time
of deposition Autochthonous Limestones - The facies is dominated by a growth fabric of in situ and in growth position skeletons of
Depositional fabric is dominated by calcifying organisms
Less than 10% of the components are > 2 mm
bioclastic and lithoclastic reefal
material with greater than 10% of
Contains lime mud (<30 m) No lime mud Growth forms constituting greater than 60% of the total coral skeletal volume
the fragments >1 cm in size

Mud-supported Platy to tabular Sheet-like and lamellar No single growth form


Domal and irregular dominates the coral
Grain-supported colonies, growth in the colonies, growth in the Dominant vertical
massive colonies, skeletal volume
Less than 10% Greater than 10% Grain-supported Matrix-supported by the >1 cm horizontal plane horizontal plane greatly growth component,
growth in all free
grains grains component dominates dominates (W:H ratio restricted lateral growth
directions
(>30 m 2 mm) (>30 m 2 mm) (W:H ratio 5:1 30:1) >30:1)
Mudstone Wackestone Packstone Grainstone Floatstone Rudstone Platestone Sheetstone Domestone Pillarstone Mixstone

Fig. 5. The Insalaco modification of the Embry & Klovan (1971) modified Dunham classification systems (modified from Insalaco, 1998).

Depositional Biological Diagenetic


Matrix-supported
Grain-supported In situ organisms Non-obliterative Obliterative
(clay and silt - <62 m)
Less than 10% Greater than
With matrix No matrix Encrusting Many grain Most grain Crystals >10 m
grains 10% grains Organisms acted Rigid organisms Main component
binding contacts as contacts are
Calci-mudstone Wackestone Packstone Grainstone as baffle dominant is cement Sparstone
organisms microstylolites microstylolites
Grains >2 mm Crystals <10 m
Condensed Fitted
Floatstone Rudstone Boundstone Bafflestone Framestone Cementstone Microsparstone
grainstone grainstone

Fig. 6. The Wright (1992) modification of the Dunham and Embry & Klovan classification systems (modified from Wright, 1992).
Petrographic description of carbonate facies

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1849
1850 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

cerithid gastropods, and fragmented and abraded Table 2. Modal analysis results from the 10 syn-
Tridacna bivalves (Table 1). All grains were thetic lithofacies used in the first phase of the study
sieved in order to control the grain-size fractions (400 data points).
used to construct the synthetic textures. Finely Silt and
milled calcium carbonate was employed to sim- Sample mud grade (%) Grain (%) Porosity (%)
ulate the carbonate mud component. All the pet-
rographic thin sections were point counted (400 A 10000 000 000
points) in order to accurately constrain the com- B 6825 1875 1300
C 5325 4650 025
ponent ratios and sedimentary textures D 4350 5650
(Table 2). Photomicrographs of one of the sets of E 5900 4100
10 samples were obtained (Fig. 7). F 5675 4325
Volunteers, from both industry and G 5675 4200 125
academia, were randomly allocated either H 3750 6250
blind-labelled sets of thin sections or photomi- I 5650 4350
crographs and asked to classify the 10 samples J 9725 275
according to whichever classification system
they thought most appropriate. In order to
avoid influencing the outcome of the study, no to complete a questionnaire providing details
preferred classification scheme was mentioned as to their academic and industry background
to the volunteers. Participants were also asked and experience.
So as to assess the applicability of the results
of Phase One to genuine carbonate samples,
Table 1. Components used in the production of the
synthetic carbonate textures. Phase Two of the study employed a set of 14
carbonate thin sections derived from a range of
Component (%) Mesozoic and Cenozoic carbonate lithologies.
These thin sections were also subjected to
Fragmented and abraded Tridacna (500 lm to 1 mm)

modal analysis (Table 3) and were imaged at a


Fragmented cerithid gastropods (500 lm to 1 mm)

range of magnifications (Fig. 8; Data S1). The


Fragmented cerithid gastropods (125 to 500 lm)

Fragmented and abraded Tridacna (1 to 2 mm)

images were integrated into an online question-


Fragmented and abraded Tridacna ( [ 2 mm)
Fragmented cerithid gastropods (1 to 2 mm)

naire and an open invitation was made to the


geological community to classify the rock tex-
tures. Again, no specific classification system
Whole cerithid gastropods ( [ 2 mm)

was suggested to the participants. Academic and


industry background questions were slightly
modified from those of the first phase in order
to build on the comments received from partici-
pants during Phase One (Data S2).
Ooids (125 to 250 lm)
Micrite (\63lm)

RESULTS

Detailed tabulated results from the first and sec-


Sample

ond phase surveys are presented in Tables S1


and S2.

A 100 Synthetic rock types Phase One


B 50 50
C 30 70 The first phase of the study elicited responses
D 30 70 from 64 volunteers who recorded in excess of
E 20 40 40 940 years of combined academic and industry
F 70 30 experience between them (Table 4; Table S1).
G 40 20 40
The majority of the respondents were currently
H 30 70
I 100 employed in the academic sector (59%) with aca-
J 90 10 demic experience ranging between one and
30 years. Whilst only 23% of the participants
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1851

Fig. 7. Thin section photomicrographs taken using plane polarized light (PPL) and cross-polarized light (XPL) for
each of the 10 synthetic thin section textures used in the first phase of the study. In all cases, the length of the scale
bar is 2 mm. Grains used to make these synthetic fabrics are bivalve shells (b), cerithid gastropods (g) and ooids.

were employed in the industrial sector, the range single volunteer who failed to recognize the car-
of experience was similar to that of the academic bonate nature of the samples (for example, sand-
sector (one to 36 years) with both sectors produc- stone, micro-conglomerate). The remaining three
ing comparable average experience levels samples were either identified at a simple level
(118 years for academia, 113 years for industry). (for example, carbonate cement, limestone) or
The Dunham classification system, or a variant assigned a moniker attempting to reflect their
thereof, was used in 548 (98%) of the 560 classi- synthetic nature (artificialstone). In summary, all
fications. Of the remaining 12 samples, 50% of the volunteers used a variant of the Dunham
were attributable to one individual who chose to classification for at least some of their assigned
switch between the Dunham and Folk systems as samples, with 92% using it exclusively.
they felt appropriate leaving one texture Each of the synthetic carbonate textures
unclassified. Three samples were classified by a prompted a wide variety of nomenclature with
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1852

Table 3. Modal analysis results for the 14 lithofacies used in the second phase of the study (400 data points).

Component (%)
S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

Sample number
Micrite
Ooid
Superficial ooid
Peloid
Calcareous algae
Ostracod
Bivalve
Foraminifera
Echinoid
Gastropod
Intraclast
Quartz
Hornblende
Opaque grain
Pore
Dolomite cement
Calcite cement
Anhydrite cement

Unidentified bioclast
Argillaceous material
1 7450 900 400 1150 100
2 300 3100 3725 050 050 2775
3 8725 100 025 125 025 800 050 125 025
4 1200 7925 125 050 025 050 025 300 025 275
5 6775 025 1875 100 050 700 025 050 375 025
6 3800 2150 050 375 075 2400 700 450
7 7050 050 025 025 025 2450 150 025 050 150
8 3025 3300 025 075 500 375 2625 075
9 500 9500
10 500 4300 475 800 025 075 025 1200 2600
11 6725 1875 200 075 175 475 450 025
12 5775 575 800 050 400 2400
13 6175 175 3650
14 9900 050 025 025

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1853

Fig. 8. Thin section photomicrographs, imaged using plane polarized light, for each of the 14 thin sections used
in the second phase of the study. In all images, the length of the scale bar is 05 mm. Higher resolution and cross-
polarized light images can be examined in Data S1.

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1854 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi
Table 4. Academic and industry experience results for the participants taking part in Phase One of the study.

Current sector of employment (% of respondents)

Academia Not
Number of respondents Academia Industry and industry specified

64 594 234 31 141


Experience (years)
Minimum Maximum Total Average
Total academic experience (n = 51) 1 30 6025 118
Total industry experience (n = 30) 1 36 3385 113

between 22 and 38 different names being the classifications used qualifiers, the majority
assigned for each texture (Table 5). In order to of which stated the presence of gastropods
present this data in a comprehensible manner, (31%) or bioclasts (22%).
all qualifiers were initially removed to leave just
the basic classification terminology (Table 5). Sample C
This process resulted in the number of textural The components of this sample are dominated
categories for each specimen to be reduced to by 70% fragmented cerithid gastropods of
between six and 17. between 1 mm and 2 mm diameter in a
The results for each of the 10 samples will mud silt grade (<63 lm) carbonate matrix
now be briefly discussed; the reader is encou- (30%) (Tables 1 and 2; Fig. 7). The majority of
raged to examine Table S1 in tandem with read- the participants assigned a texture of packstone
ing these results. (406%) but other significant classifications
included grainstone (125%), wackestone
Sample A (125%), rudstone (94%) and wackestone/pack-
This sample contains 100% carbonate material of stone (63%) (Table 5). Mixed classifications
<63 lm in diameter, no larger grains are present dominated the nine textures proposed for the
(Tables 1 and 2; Fig. 7). Sample A was described remaining 187% of the classifications (Fig. 9).
by 625% of the participants as a mudstone, with Qualifiers were appended to 55% of the classifi-
other significant results including packstone cations with gastropods (33%) and unidentified
(109%) and wackestone (94%) (Table 5). The bioclasts (17%) dominating.
remaining 172% of respondents employed an
additional eight alternative textures with mixed Sample D
classification textures dominating (Fig. 9). Quali- Sample D was synthesized using 70% fragmented
fiers and descriptors were employed by 25% of cerithid gastropods of between 05 mm and
participants to describe component grains (12%), 10 mm diameter with a 30% carbonate mud silt
matrix composition (8%) or grain size (5%). grade matrix (Tables 1 and 2; Fig. 7). The results
of the classification exercise were very similar to
Sample B those of Sample C with 375% of the participants
Synthetic sample B was constructed using 50% classifying this sample as packstone followed by
whole cerithid gastropods of >2 mm along with grainstone (188%), wackestone/packstone
50% carbonate matrix of <63 lm (Table 1), intra- (78%), wackestone (63%) and rudstone (63%)
particle and shelter porosity contribute 13% of (Table 5). The remaining 281% of responses pro-
the volume of the sample (Table 2; Fig. 7). duced a further 12 classes that mainly comprised
Floatstone (422%) and wackestone (234%) mixed classification terminology (Fig. 9). Some
were the most common classifiers allocated to 47% of participants used qualifiers in their classi-
this sample; these were followed by rudstone fication with the majority (41%) using generic ter-
(109%) and packstone (94%) (Table 5). The six minology such as bioclastic or molluscan.
textures that were proposed for the remaining
141% of the classifications were primarily Sample E
mixed classifications based upon these four Fragmented and abraded Tridacna bivalve shells
most common textures (Fig. 9). In total, 55% of are the sole component of Sample E (Fig. 7). Three
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Table 5. Simplified results from the first phase of the study. The simplified textures are produced by removing all prefixes and suffixes from the classifica-
tions provided by the participants.

Number of Simplified textural classes


textural
classes Textures eliciting more than 5% of the responses
including
descriptors
Sample and qualifiers Total Dominant texture Second Third Fourth Fifth Total (%)

A 22 11 Mudstone (625%) Packstone (109%) Wackestone (94%) 828


B 27 10 Floatstone (422%) Wackestone (234%) Rudstone (109%) Packstone (94%) 859
C 38 14 Packstone (406%) Grainstone (125%) Wackestone (125%) Rudstone (94%) Wackestone/ 813
Packstone (63%)
D 33 17 Packstone (375%) Grainstone (188%) Wackestone/ Wackestone (63%) Rudstone (63%) 719
Packstone (78%)
E 31 11 Rudstone (391%) Grainstone (344%) Floatstone (109%) 844
F 28 10 Packstone (406%) Wackestone (234%) Grainstone (109%) Wackestone/ 844
Packstone (94%)
G 37 15 Rudstone (344%) Packstone (219%) Wackestone (109%) Floatstone (109%) Grainstone (63%) 844
H 27 12 Packstone (609%) Grainstone (156%) Rudstone (63%) 828
I 25 6 Grainstone (859%) 859
J 26 13 Mudstone (484%) Wackestone (219%) Mudstone/ 797
Wackestone (94%)
Petrographic description of carbonate facies

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1855
Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants

10
12
14

0
2
4
6
8
10
15
20
25
30
35
40

0
5

10
12
14

0
2
4
6
8
1856

Packstone Floatstone

Fig. 9.
Mudstone
Wackestone
Wackestone
Rudstone Packstone
Molluscan Packstone Gastropod Floatstone
Grainstone Wackestone
Packstone
Bioclastic Packstone
Bioclastic Wackestone Carbonate Mudstone
Grainstone/Packstone
Bioclastic Wackestone Floatstone/Rudstone Fine Sandstone/Quartzite
Packstone (bivalve-Prone)
Gastropod Rudstone
Bioclastic Rudstone Bioclastic Packstone
Mollusc Wackestone Rudstone
Mollusc mud-dominated Packstone Mudstone/Wackestone
Gastropod Floatstone in mud matrix
Rudist Grainstone
Bioclastic Floatstone Wackestone to Packstone
Packstone/Rudstone

Proposed textural names


Proposed textural names

Proposed textural names


Packstone with mollusc Gastropod Wackestone Micritic Mudstone
Skeletal Grainstone/Rudstone
Floatstone with mud matrix
Mollusc Wackestone/Packstone Lime Mudstone
Gastropod-clast Packstone Bioclast/Skeletal Wackestone/Floatstone
Peloidal mollusc Floatstone Very fine grained Wackestone
Biosparite
Floatstone
Grainstone with bioclastic fragments Wackestone to Fine Packstone
Skeletal Floatstone
Biosparite Skeletal mollusc Wackestone Rudist Rudstone
Mollusc Grainstone
S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

Sample B
Sample A

Sample C
Bioclastic Wackestone/Packstone Wackestone/Packstone Peloidal Packstone
Bioclastic Grainstone Coarse bioclastic Packstone
Floatstone/Rudstone Packstone (Pm/Pg)
Gastropod Floatstone (Fm)
Molluscan Grainstone Skeletal Wackestone/Packstone
Wackestone/Packstone (subord Rud) Gastropod Packstone

Easy
Gastropod Packstone Rudstone

Moderate

Very difficult
Very Easy

Difficult
Molluscan Float/Rudstone

Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult
Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult

0
0

Skeletal Rudstone
Coarse Bioclastic Packstone Foramniferal Wackestone Mud/Wacke peloid Grainstone
Mud-supported Wacke/Packstone
10

Gastropod Float/Rudstone

20
Peloidal Wackestone

10
Bioclast/Skeletal Wackestone
Skeletal Floatstone
20

Skeletal mollusc Grainstone Packstone/Grainstone


Mudstone/Wackestone Floatstone (gastropod-bearing) 40

20
30

Mud-dominated Packstone Rudstone with Gastropod Pellet Grainstone


Wackestone/Packstone
60

30
40

Mollusc Packstone Gastropod-rich Floatstone Peloidal Wackestone/Packstone


Assessment of difficulty
Assessment of difficulty

Assessment of difficulty
Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45

10
15
20
25
30

0
5
0
5
10
15
20
25
30

Packstone Floatstone Mudstone


Grainstone
Wackestone Packstone
Wackestone
Wackestone
Rudstone Rudstone

Wackestone/Packstone Wackestone/Packstone
Packstone
Floatstone
Wackestone to Packstone
Grainstone/Packstone Floatstone/Rudstone
Rudstone
Biosparite Float/Rudstone
Grainstone
Simplified textural classes

Simplified textural classes


Simplified textural classes

Wacke/Packstone
Wackestone/Floatstone
Floatstone/Rudstone Sandstone/Quartzite

Molluscan Packstone Biosparite


Packstone/Grainstone
Mudstone/Wackestone
Wackestone/Packstone Mud/Wacke Grainstone
Packstone/Rudstone

Grainstone/Rudstone Grainstone Mudstone/Wackestone

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants

0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
12
14
10

0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

0
2
4
6
8
Wackestone Packstone
Rudstone

Fig. 9.
Packstone Grainstone Bioclastic Packstone
Grainstone Bioclastic Grainstone Grainstone
Bioclastic Packstone Floatstone Wackestone/Packstone
Wackestone
Wackestone/Packstone Skeletal Rudstone
Rudstone
Bioclastic Wackestone Packstone
Molluscan Packstone
Molluscan Packstone Mollusc Grainstone
Floatstone
Skeletal Floatstone
Rudstone Grainstone/Packstone
Skeletal Grainstone
Skeletal Packstone/Wackestone Bioclastic Wackestone/Packstone
Clean molluscan Rudstone Gastropod-clast Packstone
Packstone with mollusc
Bioclast Rudstone Packstone/Grainstone (Skeletal)

Proposed textural names


Packstone/Grainstone

Proposed textural names


Proposed textural names

Rudstone with Grainstone matrix Packstone bivalve


Mollusc Packstone Rudist Rudstone Dirty molluscan Rudstone
Skeletal Floatstone Bioclastic Wackestone Skeletal Grainstone/Rudstone
Packstone (skeletal) Rudstone (skeletal/rudist) Bioclastic Wacke-Packstone
Rudist Floatstone Grainstone with Mollusc Mudstone/Wackestone
Molluscan Grainstone Rudstone to Grainstone
Mud-dominated Packstone
Fragmented Rudstone Bioclast/Skeletal sediments/Grainstone
Skeletal Packstone

Sample F
Bioclastic Grainstone/Rudstone Packstone/Rudstone
Sample D

Sample E
Gastropod-clast Wackestone Mollusc Packstone
Lean Rudstone
Molluscan Wackestone Biosparite
Bioclastic Rudstone
Packstone bivalve Skeletal mollusc Grainstone
Floatstone with grainy matrix
Bioclastic Grainstone Bioclastic Wackestone
Rudstone/Floatstone
Skeletal Grainstone

Moderate
Easy

Very difficult
Very Easy

Difficult
Molluscan Wacke-Packstone
Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult

Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult
Not identified

0
Skeletal Packstone to Wackestone
0

0
Mollusc grain-dominated Packstone Bioclast sediments/Grainstone Peloidal bivalve Grainstone
Skeletal mollusc Packstone Loose bioclastic Rudstone

10
Grainstone with mollusc
10

10
Floatstone/Rudstone Floatstone/Rudstone Coarse Packstone with mollusc
Mud-supported Wackestone Molluscan Grainstone

20
Mollusc mud-dominated Packstone
20

20
Calcite Cement Floatstone/Packstone
Bioclast/Skeletal Wackestone
Coarse Sand/Micro-Conglomerate Mollusc Packstone/Wackestone

30
Mollusc Wackestone
30

30

Assessment of difficulty
Molluscan Rudstone Mollusc mud-dominated Packstone
Assessment of difficulty

Assessment of difficulty

Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants

10
15
20
25
30

0
5
10
15
20
25
30

0
5
0
5
10
15
20
25
30

Packstone Rudstone Packstone


Grainstone
Wackestone Grainstone
Wackestone/Packstone
Floatstone Wackestone
Grainstone
Rudstone
Packstone
Wackestone/Packstone Floatstone

Wackestone Grainstone/Packstone
Rudstone Mudstone/Wackestone
Not identified
Rudstone to Grainstone
Packstone/Wackestone
Calcite Cement Wacke-Packstone
Simplified textural classes
Simplified textural classes
Simplified textural classes

Floatstone Grainstone/Rudstone
Rudstone/Floatstone Packstone/Wackestone
Wacke-Packstone Floatstone/Packstone
Micro-Conglomerate
Packstone/Rudstone
Petrographic description of carbonate facies

Packstone/Grainstone Grainstone/Rudstone

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Biosparite
Packstone/Grainstone
Floatstone/Rudstone Floatstone/Rudstone
Packstone to Wackestone
1857
Number of participants Number of participants
Number of participants

0
2
4
6
8
10
12

0
5
10
15
20
25
30
10
12
14
16

0
2
4
6
8
1858

Rudstone

Fig. 9.
Grainstone Packstone
Wackestone
Bioclastic Packstone Bioclastic Packstone
Oolitic Grainstone
Grainstone Floatstone
Ooid Grainstone Grainstone
Rudstone Packstone
Peloidal Grainstone
Skeletal Packstone Gastropod Rudstone
Wackestone/Packstone Bioclastic Rudstone
Molluscan Packstone
Gastropod Packstone
Ooid peloid Grainstone Wackestone/Packstone Gastropod Floatstone
Micritized ooid Grainstone Wackestone Grainstone/Rudstone
Dirty molluscan Rudstone
(Superficial) ooid Grainstone Bivalve Packstone
Bioclastic Floatstone

Proposed textural names


Fine Packstone Floatstone with Wackestone matrix
Proposed textural names

Oolithic Grainstone

Proposed textural names


Bioclastic Grainstone Wacke/Floatstone or Pack/Rudstone
Oolitic (sand) Grainstone Gastropod/Rudist Rudstone
Gastropod Packstone Bioclastic Wackestone/Floatstone
Loose peloidal grainstone Packstone/Grainstone Packstone/Grainstone
Grainstone (Oolitic) Bioclastic Floatstone/Rudstone
Packstone/Grainstone (skeletal)
Gastropod-rich Rudstone
Peloid Grainstone Biosparite Molluscan Packstone
Skeletal Packstone to Grainstone Rudstone (gastropod-bearing)
Medium to coarse Sandstone

Sample I
Sample G
S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

Rudstone/Floatstone

Sample H
Skeletal Packstone/Floatstone
Peloidal Limestone Mollusc Packstone
Gastropod-clast Packstone Mud-supported Wackestone
Pellet Grainstone Skeletal Mollusc Packstone
Bivalve grain-dominated Packstone
Ooid Packstone Mollusc Wackestone/Packstone
Mollusc Packstone/Wackestone Skeletal Rudstone

Very Hard
Moderate
Hard
Easy
Very Easy
Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult

Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult
0
Wackestone Mollusc mud-dominated Packstone Grainstone with mollusc
0

0
Skeletal Grainstone (Pack/Grain) Bioclast/Skeletal Wackestone
Ooid sediments/Grainstone
Skeletal Packstone/Floatstone

10
10

Bioclast/Skeletal Packstone

20
Coated Grain Grainstone Mollusc mud-dominated Packstone
Skeletal mollusc Packstone Fragmented Rudstone
Bioclastic Packstone (ooid) Mollusc Rudstone
20

40
20
Grainstone to Packstone
Oolitic Packstone Rudstone/Grainstone
Mollusc Packstone Gastropod-clast Packstone
30

60
Grainstone with Ooids
30
Packstone-Rudstone with gastropods
Assessment of difficulty

Assessment of difficulty
Rudist Packstone
Assessment of difficulty

Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants


0
5
10
15
20
25

0
5

10
20
30
40
50
60
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45

0
Rudstone
Packstone
Grainstone Packstone
Grainstone
Wackestone
Rudstone Floatstone
Packstone
Wackestone/Packstone Grainstone

Packstone/Grainstone Wackestone/Packstone
Wackestone/Packstone
Packstone-Rudstone
Wackestone
Rudstone/Grainstone

Simplified textural classes


Packstone/Floatstone
Wackestone Wacke/Floatstone or Pack/Rudstone
Simplified textural classes

Simplified textural classes

Biosparite Grainstone/Rudstone

Packstone/Wackestone Wackestone/Floatstone
Limestone
Floatstone/Rudstone
Grainstone to Packstone
Packstone/Floatstone
Grainstone (Pack/Grain)
Sandstone Rudstone/Floatstone
Packstone to Grainstone Packstone/Grainstone

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1859

Proposed textural names Assessment of difficulty Simplified textural classes


25 35
Sample J Very Easy
Easy 30

Number of participants
Number of participants

20
Moderate
25
Difficult
15 20
Very difficult
0 10 20 30 15
10
10
5
5

0 0

Artificialstone
Mudstone

Wackestone

Mudstone/Wackestone

Packstone

Grainstone

Molluscan Wackestone

Mudstone (subord Wacke)

Wackestone/Mudstone

Biosparite

Wackestone with Grainstone

Packstone/Grainstone

Sandstone to coarse Packstone


Artificialstone
Micritic Mudstone

Bioclastic Wackestone/Mudstone

Bioclastic Mudstone
Mudstone
Wackestone
Mudstone/Wackestone
Skeletal Mudstone

Packstone
Molluscan Wackestone

Biosparite
Gastropod-clast Mudstone
Skeletal peloid Wackestone

Wackestone (peloidal)

Skeletal Packstone

Skeletal Mudstone/Wackestone
Skeletal Mudstone (subord Wacke)

Carb. Mudstone with skeletal frag.


Mudstone with rare mollusc fragments
Peloidal mollusc Wackestone
Grainstone
Packstone/Grainstone
Wackestone with Mollusc
Rudist Grainstone

Sandstone to coarse Packstone


Wackestone with micro pelodial Grainstone

Fig. 9. Results for the classification of the synthetic carbonate textures used during the first phase of the study (in
all cases N = 64). For each sample, the left chart displays the number of occurrences for each of the textural
names proposed by the participants. The right chart displays the results for the simplified textural classes with all
qualifiers and descriptors removed. The inset bar chart displays the level of difficulty that the participants
expressed in classifying the texture.

grain-size fractions were used in the construction Sample G


of this sample 05 to 10 mm (20%), 1 to 2 mm Sample G comprises 40% carbonate material of
(40%) and >2 mm (40%) (Table 1). The porosity <63 lm along with fragmented cerithid gas-
of Sample E is 41% (Table 2), all of which is in tropods (20%) and whole gastropods (40%)
the form of interparticle porosity (Fig. 7). The two (Table 1). A small amount (125%) of intraparti-
dominant textures assigned to this sample are cle and shelter porosity is present (Table 2;
rudstone (391%) and grainstone (344%) with Fig. 7). Rudstone (344%) and packstone
floatstone (109%) being the only other significant (219%) were the most applied classifiers fol-
classification (Table 5). The remaining 156% of lowed by wackestone (109%), floatstone
the classifications encompass eight designations (109%) and grainstone (63%). The remaining
with a range of terminology. Qualifiers were 156% of participants proposed 10 textures all of
employed in 48% of the classifications, the which were mixed classifications (Table 5;
emphasis being on bioclastic components (39%). Fig. 9). The sample evoked qualifiers from 55%
of participants with unidentified bioclasts
Sample F (20%), gastropods (19%) and molluscs (9%)
This sample was produced using 30% frag- dominating.
mented cerithid gastropods of between 05 mm
and 10 mm diameter in a matrix of mud silt Sample H
grade carbonate (70%) (Tables 1 and 2; Fig. 7). Sample H was created from 70% 125 to
The majority of the participants classified Sam- 500 lm diameter fragmented cerithid gas-
ple F as either packstone (406%) or wacke- tropods with 30% mud silt grade carbonate
stone (234%). Classifications of grainstone matrix (Tables 1 and 2; Fig. 7). Sample H was
(109%) and wackestone/packstone (94%) were classified by 609% of the participants as a
also relatively common descriptors. The six packstone, other significant results were grain-
textures that represent the remaining 156% of stone (156%) and rudstone (63%). The
the classifications were dominated by mixed remaining 172% of responses suggested nine
classifications (Table 5; Fig. 9). Half of the par- additional textures, most of which were mixed
ticipants used qualifiers with 48% focusing on classifications (Table 5; Fig. 9). Qualifiers were
the skeletal component dominantly naming used by 50% of participants, again with a focus
these as unidentified bioclasts (27%) or mol- on components (48%) most of which were
luscs (22%). unidentified (33%).

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1860 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

Sample I

specified

5 (very)
This sample is formed completely of ooids with

136

164
a diameter of between 125 lm and 250 lm

Not
(Table 1) and has an interparticle porosity of

Mining
435% (Table 2, Fig. 7). Sample I was classified

430
as a grainstone by 859% of the participants

05

4
(Table 5) with five other textures proposed by

Experience in carbonate classification


the remaining 141% of the participants (Fig. 9).
Public oil
company

Participants employed qualifiers in 56% of the


classifications with references to ooids being

282
90

3
dominant (42%) over peloids (13%).
company
State oil

Sample J
113 The final synthetic sample was produced using
73

10% fragmented cerithid gastropods of 05 to


10 mm diameter in a 90% matrix of mud silt
Consultancy
Academic and industry experience results for the participants taking part in Phase Two of the study.

grade carbonate (Tables 1 and 2; Fig. 7). Mud-


1 (none)

stone (484%) and wackestone (219%) were the


two most common classifiers allocated to this
124

11

sample; these were followed by mudstone/


wackestone at 94% (Table 5). The remaining
and academia
Consultancy

203% of the classifications were distributed


over a range of 10 textures, many of which were
mixed classifications (Fig. 9). Qualifiers were
06

appended to 34% of the textures with grain


descriptors (30%) dominating over matrix
Research

composition (3%) and grain size (1%).


The use of thin sections or photomicrographs
06

did not produce any perceivable differences in


the classification results (Table S1).
Current sector of employment (% of respondents)

researcher

Average
Private

Carbonate lithologies Phase Two


153

75
06

Phase Two of the study involved 177 volunteers


Government

from 33 countries with combined academic and


industry experience of more than 3270 years
agency

23

26480

6235

(Table 6; Table S2). The proportion of respon-


Total

dents currently in employment in the academic


sector was similar to that of Phase One of the
Maximum

study (57%), academic experience ranged from


Centre of
research

two to 50 years. A higher proportion of the par-


Experience (years)

ticipants (30%) were employed in industry than


11

50

36

in the first phase of the study, yet the range of


industrial experience was almost identical (0 to
Academia

Minimum

36 years). The average level of experience was


15 years in academia and eight years in the
520

industrial sector.
2

The Dunham classification system, or a variant


experience (n = 173)

experience (n = 83)

thereof, was exclusively used in 83% of the


2349 classifications; this figure rises to 87%
Total academic

Total industry

when considering those participants who chose


respondents
Number of

to give both a Dunham-derived and a Folk-


Table 6.

derived classification. The Folk system was


exclusively employed in 3% of the classifica-
177

tions, rising to 7% when the participants who

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants

10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50

0
5

0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
Packstone
Wackestone

Fig. 10.
Grainstone Wackestone
Wackestone-packstone
Mudstone No texture given
Wackestone to packstone
No texture given
Packstone Wackestone (base) : Packstone (top)
Packstone/wackestone
Wacke-packstone
Biomicrite : Wackestone
Packstone Packstone-wackestone
Packstone to grainstone
Mudstone/wackestone Wackestone and packstone

Biosparite : Grainstone Packstone to wackestone

Micrite Wackestone/packstone
Wacke to packstone
Wacke/packstone
Mudstone to wackestone Biosparite
Wacke to packstone
Biomicrite
Wackestone to packstone Packstone, wackestone
Oosparite : Grainstone Grainstone/packstone
Wackestone or packstone Biomicrite packstone : Middle wackestone
Mudstone to packstone
Biopelsparite : Grainstone Biomicrite : Wackestone to packstone
No texture given
Mudstone to wackestone
Biomicrite : Wackestone/mudstone
Mudstone-wackestone
Mudstone/wackestone to packstone
Oosparite
Sparse biomicrite
Biomicrite : Mud-wackestone Bindstone
Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3
Floatstone
Oosparite or intrasparite
Biomicrite Packed biomicrite
Packstone with wackestone layers
Packed biomicrite : Wackestone-packstone
Wackestone-packstone
Intrasparite Packstone/grainstone
Wackestone/packstone grading to packstone
Biomicrite : Mudstone Packstone-grainstone

Biosparite/oosparite Wackestone packstone


Biomicrite : Wackestone/floatstone Pack-wackestone
Floatstone with wackestone matrix
Sparse to packed biomicrite :
Mudstone to mud/wackestone Wackestone to packstone
Boundstone
Grainstone
Mudstone
Wackestone to mudstone Packstone (base): Wackestone (middle)
: Packstone (top)
Packstone or grainstone Biomicrite packstone/wackestone
Sparse biomicrite Packstone and packstone
Biopelmicrite : Wackestone to grainstone
: Wackestone to packstone
Wackestone/mudstone Packstone/grainstone Packstone and wackestone
Biomicrite : Wackestone

Moderate
Easy

Very difficult
Very Easy

Difficult
Moderate
Easy

Very difficult
Very Easy

Difficult

Moderate
Easy

Very difficult
Very Easy

Difficult

Biomicrite : Packstone/wackestone

0
Sparse biomicrite :
0

Mudstone to wackestone Floatstone supported by packstone (base)


Oopelbiosparite : Grainstone : Floatstone to boundstone (top)

20
20

20

Micrite (base) : Micrite, packed biomicrite (middle) :Wackestone


(base) : Mudstone (middle) : Packstone (top)
Wacke-packstone
Petrographic description of carbonate facies

40
Wackestone-packstone and wackestone packstone
40

40

Packstone (base) : Packstone (lower middle) : Calcimudstone/wackestone

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
(upper middle) : Wackestone to packstone (top)

60
60

60

Oobiosparite : Grainstone
Mud-wackestone Packstone (- wackestone)

80
80

80

Packstone : Wackestone : Wackestone

(n = 170)
(n = 177)

(n = 172)
1861
Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80

0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
1862

Packstone Wackestone Packstone

Fig. 10.
Rudstone
Floatstone Wackestone
Grainstone
Packstone Grainstone
Floatstone
Floatstone with wackestone Mudstone
Floatstone with packstone matrix matrix

Wackestone Wackestone/floatstone No texture given

Rudstone with packstone matrix Rudstone Packstone/grainstone

Floatstone to rudstone No texture given Packstone-wackestone


Packstone to grainstone
Biomicrite : Wackestone Crystalline limestone
No texture given
Wackestone to floatstone Packstone-grainstone
Grainstone to rudstone
Floatstone to packstone-grainstone Wackestone - floatstone Calcarenite

Floatstone with packstone- Floatstone with wacke- Packstone/wackestone


grainstone matrix packstone matrix
Packstone/floatstone Wackestone-packstone Wackestone-packstone
Calcirudite Pelmicrite (pelsparite?) :
S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

Sparse biomicrite : Wackestone Packstone (grainstone?)


Packstone/?Rudstone
Boundstone Biomicrite : Pack- to wackestone
Floatstone-rudstone
Mudstone Micrite or biomicrite
Packstone to rudstone
Floatstone with wacke- to Mudstone wackestone
Rudstone or grainstone packstone matrix
Rudstone-partly bafflestone Rudstone with packstone matrix Grainstone-packstone
Poorly washed biosparite
Wackestone/?rudstone Mudstone/wackestone
Packstone to floatstone
Micrite Wacke- to packstone
Biomicrudite

Sample 6
Sample 4

Sample 5

Floatstone with packstone matrix Calcilutite


Wackestone to packstone
Rudstone with grainstone matrix Micrite : Wackestone Wackestone or packstone

Pack/rudstone Wackestone (floatstone) Pack- to grainstone


Floatstone/packstone Biomicrite Biopelsparite : Grainstone
Pack/grainstone
Floatstone/wackestone Wackestone/mudstone
Floatstone with packstone matrix
, locally grainstone
Mudstone to wackestone Micrite
Biomicrite-biosparite :
Grainstone, rudstone
Wackestone/packstone Sparse biomicrite Biomicrite

Biomicrite : Rudstone/floatstone Biomicrite or biomicrudite :


with packstone matrix Poorly washed biosparite
Wackestone
Floatstone or packstone Biopelmicrite : Wackestone
Wacke/packstone
/packstone
Bafflestone
Floatstone or boundstone Wacke-packstone
Float-rudstone
Biomicritie Packstone : Pack-grainstone
Intramicruditic
Breccia Packstone/floatstone Wackestone (packstone)

Intramicrite or intrabiomicrite Biomicrite : Floatstone with Packstone or grainstone


: Packstone wackestone matrix
Very difficult
Moderate
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult
Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult

Very difficult
Moderate
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult
Packstone-grainstone Packstone-wackestone
0

Wackestone/grainstone
0

0
Intrabiopelmicrite Floatstone with wackestone
Packstone to grainstone
20
20

20 matrix or wackestone
Biointramicrite : Floatstone or wacke-
to packstone (packstone matrix) Floatstone with mudstone/
40
40

40

Floatstone? - packstone
Mudstone wackestone matrix
60

60
60

Framestone Pack/grainstone
Wackestone-packstone-grainstone
80

80
80

Intrasparite Rudstone or floatstone-rudstone Packed biomicrite : Packstone


(n = 170)
(n = 171)

(n = 168)

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants

0
10
20
30
40
50
60

0
5
10
15
20
25
0
10
20
30
40
50
60

Crystalline Packstone

Fig. 10.
Mudstone
No texture given
Wackestone
Dolomite Wackestone
Dolostone No texture given
Packstone
Grainstone Mudstone
Crystalline carbonate No texture given
Boundstone
Planar-s dolomite
Wackestone to packstone Bindstone
Marble
Hypidiotopic dolomite Dolomicrite Wackestone to packstone

Non-planar dolomite Grainstone


Grainstone
Quartz arenite
Laminite
Sucrosic dolomite Packstone/wackestone
Packstone/wackestone
Mudstone
Packstone/grainstone Wackestone-packstone
Dolosparite
Xenotopic dolomite Mud/wackestone Marl
Crystalline dolomite
Mudstone to wackestone
Sparstone Wacke-packstone
Intrabiopelmicrite : Wackestone/
Crystalline limestone packstone
Wackestone-packstone
Biomicrite : Wackestone/
Planar-e dolomite packstone
Subhedral dolomite Micrite
Calclithite
Anhedral dolomite
Mudstone/wackestone Packstone : Mudstone
Quartzite
Dolomite Intramicrite
Sparite
Packstone (locally condensed
Dolomudstone grainstone)
Biopelmicrite : Packstone
Sorted biosparite Grain-packstone - condensed
grainstone
(Dolo)sparstone Mudstone-wackestone
Sample 7

Sample 8

Wackestone/packstone

Sample 9
Dolomicrite
Grainstone to packstone Packstone/grainstone
Planar-e - planar-s dolomite
Recrystallized carbonate Crystalline limestone Packed intramicrite
Planar-e and planar-s
dolomites Packstone/bindstone
Mud-wackestone
Anhedral dolostone
Pack- wackestone
Grainstone : Dolostone Calcimudstone
Boundstone or non-planar Intramicirte - biomicrite?
dolostone Sparse biomicrite :
Dolostone (dolosparite) Wackestone Wacke-packstone
Quartzite, dolomite Micrite : Mudstone Wackestone (locally
condensed packstone)
Planar-s dolomite or Marble
Wackestone (locally
Dolomudstone packstone)
Saccharoidal dolomite
Planar-s dolostone Dolomite?
Mudstone to wackestone
Microsparstone to sparstone Wacke-/packstone
Wackestone, locally
Planar-s to non-planar
dolomite packstone? Calcirudite
Sparstone (dolomite?) Packstone-grainstone Mud(wacke)stone
Planar-s to planar-e dolomite
Subhedral dolostone Mud to wackestone Biosparite
Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult
Very difficult
Moderate
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult
Very difficult
Moderate
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult

0
0
0

Pseudosparite Packstone-wackestone
Porphyrotopic
Wackestone 20
20
20

Biomicrite : Wackestone
Sparse biomicrite
Petrographic description of carbonate facies

Framestone
40
40
40

Limestone/dolomite

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Medium crystalline dolomite
Dolostone
60
60
60

Biosparite Packstone to mudstone


80

Non-planar to planar-s
80
80

Packstone or wackestone Packstone-grainstone


dolostone
(n = 166)
(n = 168)

(n = 168)
1863
Number of participants Number of participants Number of participants

0
20
40
60
80
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80

100
120
1864

Wackestone

Fig. 10.
Grainstone Grainstone
Mudstone to wackestone
Mudstone (base) and Wackestone (top) Rudstone
Oosparite : Grainstone
Mudstone/wackestone
Packstone
Mudstone
Oosparite
Mudstone-wackestone No texture given
Wackestone to mudstone
Packstone
Mudstone and wackestone Biosparite : Grainstone

Mudstone (base) and Packstone (top)


No texture given Boundstone
Wackestone (base) and Packstone (top)
Micrite Biosparite
Rudstone
Mud/wackestone
Biomicrite : Wackestone Rudstone with grainstone matrix
Grainstone with packstone
pockets Wackestone/packstone
Grainstone to rudstone
Wacke/mudstone
Floatstone
S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

Wackestone to packstone Pack-grainstone


Wackestone locally packstone
Grainstone to rudstone
Mud- to packstone Grainstone/rudstone

Wacke to mudstone
Oolite Rudstone with packstone matrix
Mud- to wackestone
Micrite to sparse biomicrite :
Mudstone to wackestone Framestone
Floatstone to grainstone
Mudstone locally wackestone
Grainstone-rudstone
Rudstone with grainstone Wackestone or mudstone with wackestone
matrix Floatstone
Packstone or grainstone

Sample 12
Sample 11
Sample 10

Micritic and Biomicritic


Pisoidal rudstone
Mudstone to wackestone/packstone Bindstone
Wacke to mudstone (base)
Biosparite : Grainstone and Packstone (top)
Dolograinstone
Mudstone wackestone
Grainstone Grainstone, rare packstone
Grainstone or packstone
Wackestone/mudstone (base) and
Wackestone/floatstone (top)
Wackestone (base) and Wackstone Biocalcarenite
Oomicrite or biomicrite (top)
Wackestone/mudstone
Floatstone with packstone matrix
Wackestone mudstone
Packstone to grainstone
Wackestone-mudstone Packstone to rudstone
Micrite/dismicrite base) and
Grainstone to packstone biomicrite (top) Rudstone with pack/
Micrite (base) and packstone (top) grainstone matrix
Wackestone to wacke-packstone
Grainstone/rudstone Float /rudstone
Packstone
Packstone-calcimudstone Floatstone
Floatstone/rudstone
Calcimudstone (base) and
Wackestone top)
Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult

Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult
Moderate

Very difficult
Easy
Very Easy

Difficult

Sorted biosparite : Framestone


0

0
Wackestone-packstone
0

Packstone grainstone
Marlite
20

Floatstone or rudstone
Micrite : Mudstone
Oosparite : Wackestone
50

50
40

Mud-wackestone Coquina or calclithite


60

Biomicrite (base) and Micrite (top)


Pack-grainstone Biosparite : Rudstone or
100

100
80

Mudstone/wackestone (base) and bindstone


(n = 163)
(n = 163)

Packstone (top)
(n = 167)

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1865
140
Sample 13 Very Easy
120
Easy
Number of participants

Moderate
100
Difficult

80 Very difficult

0 20 40 60 80
60
(n = 163)
40

20

0
Grainstone

Floatstone to grainstone
Packstone

Rudstone

Mudstone

Grain- to floatstone

Biosparite
Oosparite : Grainstone

Oosparite

Oosparite : Packstone

Grainstone to rudstone

Oolite

Biosparite : Grainstone

Grainstone or packstone
Oodolosparite
No texture given

Oointrasparite : Grainstone
120
Sample 14 Very Easy
100 Easy
Number of participants

Moderate
80 Difficult
Very difficult
60 0 20 40 60 80

40
(n = 163)
20

Mudstone - wackestone
Mudstone

Wackestone

Mudstone to wackestone

Dismicrite : Mudstone

Microsparite : Mudstone

Wackestone or mudstone
Packstone

Micrite

Micrite/dismicrite

Mudstone/wackestone

Wackestone to packstone
No texture given

Mudstone (wackestone)

Mudstone or packstone

Micrite : Mudstone

Marlstone

Packstone/grainstone

Mud- to wackestone
Calcimudstone

Bio(?)microsparite : Mudstone
Fig. 10. Results for the classification of the synthetic carbonate textures used during the second phase of the
study. For each sample, the chart displays the number of occurrences for the simplified textural classes with all
qualifiers and descriptors removed. The inset bar chart displays the level of difficulty that the participants
expressed in classifying the texture.

used both Folk and Dunham are considered. In Sample 1


total, 10% of the classifications were either Modal analysis of Sample 1 reveals that the
incomplete or used neither the Folk nor Dun- lithology is dominated by micrite (745%) with
ham classifications. unidentified grains (115%), peloids (9%) and
A very wide range of nomenclature was pre- relatively rare ostracods; calcite cements con-
sented for each of the 14 samples with between tribute 1% of the sample volume (Table 3;
68 and 131 different names being proposed for Fig. 8). Packstone and wackestone were the
each sample (Fig. 10; Table 7). As in Phase One dominant textures assigned to this lithology
of the study, in order to present the data in a more with 282% of participants assigning packstone
comprehensible manner, all qualifiers were followed by wackestone (96%), wackestone
removed in order to leave a simplified classifica- packstone (85%) and wackestone to packstone
tion terminology (Table 7). This process reduced (62%) (Table 7). A significant number of partici-
the number of textural categories for each speci- pants (68%) did not assign a recognized classifi-
men to between 16 and 54 (Table 7). Some 129 cation. The further 48 textures (407%) proposed
different qualifiers were used by participants dur- for this lithology were dominated (276%) by
ing the study, these are summarized in Table 8. different phrasings of a mixed wackestone and
A brief discussion of the results for each packstone classification (Fig. 10). Qualifiers
of the 14 samples is presented below; for more were used in 655% of the classifications; refe-
detail, the reader is referred to Table S2. rences to the skeletal component dominated
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Table 7. Simplified results from the second phase of the study. The simplified classifications are produced by removing all prefixes and suffixes from the
classifications provided by the participants. Where the lithology was deliberately named using more than one classification system, then these figures are
1866

included as appropriate.
Classification system used (%) Simplified classification classes (descriptors and qualifiers removed)

Number Classifications eliciting more than 5% of the responses for the sample
Other of classi-
Number of Folk and or fication Dominant Total
Sample respondents Folk Dunham Dunham none classes Total texture Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth (%)

1 177 791 9096 565 678 131 53 Packstone Wackestone Wackestone No texture Wackestone to 593
(282%) (96%) packstone given (68%) packstone
(85%) (62%)

2 172 349 8837 523 291 95 16 Grainstone 902


(902%)

3 170 294 9176 412 118 72 23 Wackestone Mudstone 801


(63%) (177%)
S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

4 171 117 9123 234 526 109 37 Packstone Wackestone Grainstone 696
(445%) (175%) (76%)

5 170 235 9059 471 235 108 37 Wackestone Floatstone Packstone Floatstone 731
(407%) (165%) (10%) with
wackestone
matrix (59%)

6 168 357 9226 238 179 120 44 Packstone Rudstone Grainstone Floatstone Floatstone with 708
(286%) (155%) (101%) (89%) packstone
matrix (77%)
7 168 238 8452 179 1131 116 39 Packstone Wackestone No texture 636
(339%) (22%) given (77%)

8 168 417 8631 238 714 119 32 Mudstone Wackestone Packstone 703
(304%) (25%) (149%)

9 166 120 1024 181 8675 110 49 Dolomite Crystalline No texture Dolostone Grainstone 752
(331%) (139%) given (114%) (108%) (6%)

10 167 180 8982 419 419 100 28 Grainstone Rudstone Packstone 749
(497%) (18%) (72%)

11 163 245 9325 368 061 103 46 Wackestone Mudstone to Mudstone Mudstone/ Mudstone Mudstone- 680
(282%) wackestone (base) and wackestone (55%) wackestone
(141%) wackestone (61%) (55%)
(top) (86%)
12 163 491 8650 491 368 89 23 Grainstone Oosparite 834
(742%) (92%)

13 163 368 8650 613 368 78 17 Grainstone Oosparite 914


(84%) (74%)

14 163 429 9080 307 184 68 21 Mudstone Wackestone 822


(742%) (8%)

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1867
100 the dominant textures used to classify this litho-
logy (Table 7). A further 21 textures were pro-
90 2 posed for Sample 3, these were dominated either
I
13 by a variety of combinations of the mudstone and
80 wackestone classifiers or by the Folk class of
14 12 biomicrite. Only 12% of the responses did not
70
assign a texture from a recognizable carbonate
A 3
H classification system. Qualifiers were only
60
appended to 429% of the classifications and
50
were again dominated by references to the skele-
J 10
4
tal component (Table 8).
5 C&F B
40 E
D Sample 4
7 G 9
30 8 6
This sample is dominated by peloids (793%)
11 1 with subordinate micrite (12%) and rare
20 bivalves, foraminifera, gastropods, argillaceous
Mudstone

Wackestone

Packstone

Grainstone

Floatstone

Rudstone

Dolostone material and quartz grains (Table 3; Fig. 8).


10 Calcite (28%) and dolomite (03%) cements are
observed, macropores account for 3% of the
0 volume of the lithology. Participants employed
37 different textures in classifying Sample 4
Fig. 11. The dominant simplified textures assigned to with packstone (445%), wackestone (175%)
the sample by participants in the study. The sample and grainstone (76%) being the most commonly
identifier is indicated next to each data point.
used (Table 7). The remaining 34 classifications
were dominated by classifications combining the
(Table 8). The presence of more than one texture above classes or employing the Folk system for
was explicitly stated by 186% of participants micritic facies (Fig. 10). In total, 526% of
with this being variously described as lami- responses did not use a recognized classification
nated, bedded or graded. system in naming the lithology. Qualifiers were
attached to 517% of the classifications; these
Sample 2 were typically used to describe component
Sample 2 is dominated by peloids (373%) and grains but also focused on cement phases and
superficial ooids (31%) with subordinate ooids recrystallization (Table 8).
and rare quartz. Calcite cement accounts for
278% of the volume of the lithology with Sample 5
only 05% porosity being retained (Table 3; Sample 5 is dominated by micrite (678%) with
Fig. 8). This sample was named as a grain- orbitolinid larger benthic foraminifera (183%)
stone by 902% of the participants (Table 7). and rare echinoderms, bivalves and gastropods;
The remaining 15 classifications were domi- observed porosity is 38% (Table 3, Fig. 8). The
nated by nomenclature derived from the spar- classification of this sample was dominated by
ite classes of the Folk classification system wackestone (407%) followed by floatstone
with only 29% of participants failing to assign (165%), packstone (10%) and floatstone with a
a classification to the lithology (Fig. 10). Most wackestone matrix (59%) (Table 7). The remain-
of the qualifiers (547% of the classifications) ing 33 textures were dominated by a range of
were used to describe component grains; sort- terminologies combining wackestone and float-
ing and cementation were also incorporated stone with other textures from the Embry &
into a significant number of the classifications Klovan modification of the Dunham classifica-
(Table 8). tion system. Terminology from the Folk classifi-
cation of micritic facies was also used (Fig. 10).
Sample 3 Some 24% of respondents did not assign a tex-
The modal analysis results for Sample 3 reveal a ture from a recognizable carbonate classification
lithology dominated by micrite (873%) with rare system. Participants in the study employed qual-
bivalves, echinoids, foraminifera and gastropods; ifiers in 60% of the classifications, the majority
observed porosity is 13% (Table 3; Fig. 8). of which referred to the biotic component with
Wackestone (63%) and mudstone (177%) were 318% specifically stating the presence of
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1868 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi
Table 8. Qualifiers employed by participants during the second phase of the study (%).

Algae/Calcareous algae/Coralline or Red algae


Unidentified fossil/bioclast/skeletal/shell
State more than one texture
Number of respondents

Structureless/massive

Laminated/layered

Erosional surface

Stromatolite
Echinoderm
Bioturbated

Brachiopod
Microbored

Gastropod

Bryozoan
Nodular

Mollusc
Bedded

Crinoid
Sample

Bivalve
Graded

Rudist
1 177 186 124 45 45 107 339 11 40
2 172 06 06 110 06 06
3 170 17 318 06 06 35 18 06
4 171 06 35 187 06
5 170 100 06 194 06 18 29 06 41 06
6 168 113 208 06 06 30
7 168 24 155 77 06 155 06 06 06 06 12
8 168 06 06 24 06
9 166 12
10 167 42 222 06 06 06 06 24
11 163 190 37 06 12 06 25 307 06 06 37 06
12 163 31 12
13 163 18
14 163 12 80
Stylolite/dissolution/seam/horsetail

Slightly metamorphosed
Grain size / Crystal size

Dolomite/Dolomitic
Cemented/Cements
Moderately sorted

Condensed/Fitted
Matrix-supported

Grain-dominated

Fe-rich/Fe oxide
Grain-supported

Mud-dominated

Oriented grains

Calcite cement
Microfracture
Poorly sorted

Compaction

Spar/Sparry
Well-sorted

Micronized

Dolomitize
Brecciated

Diagenetic
Rounding

Sheared
Sample

1 11 34 40 34


2 06 70 29 12 23 12 12 64 06
3 29 29 18 06
4 29 06 18 06 23 23 06 06 23
5 06 06 18 12 06
6 24 24 12 06 12 18 12 06 12
7 06 06 06 06 71 179 18 06 06 30 24 18 06 06
8 12 12 226 256
9 30 06 06 12 30 18
10 06 06 06 06 06 12 24 12
11 06 06 06
12 12 06 12 06 06 06 06 61 37 25
13 31 06 06 06 06 86 80 37 37
14 18 12 12

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Sponge/Sponge spicule

12
12
06
Dolomite rhombs/crystals

208
Stromatoporid

12
06
Evaporite

06
Foraminifera

365
185
318
24
12
06
Gypsum lathe/pseudomorph

30
Planktonic foraminifera

06
06
06
06
12
Anhydrite cement

12
06
18
00
12
Octracod

06
48
113
Halite

06
Silicification Radiolaria

18
06
06

06
06
06
06
12
06
06
06
06
Sutured mosaic Peloid/Pellet

12
31
117
43
06
06
107
30
119
18
199
12
157
62
Relic textures/Mimetic/Ghosts Coated grain

18
12
12
06
110
Cryptocrystalline

06
Ooid

626
656
203
Crystalline

25
18
06
06
72
54
Pisoid/Pisolitic

12
18
Anhedral

30
Oncoid

12
12
06
42
41
Subhedral

24
Compound/Aggregate/Composite/Botryoidal/Grape grain

92
Equant

06
Micrite envelope
29

Equigranular/Granoblastic

42
Filamentous/microbial

06
06
17

Recrystallized/Neomorphism

12
12
12
06
24
24
06
58
06
06
Unidentified organic material
54
Pores

06
Bitumen
12

Interparticle porosity

06
06
06
Intra/Extra/Lithoclast
12
06
161
220
41
12
23
11

Intraparticle porosity

29
12 Siliciclastic grain
06
18
24
06
06
06
17
23

Intercrystalline porosity

06
Argillaceous/Clay/Silt
Secondary porosity
06
06
06
101
06
18
11

12
06
06
06
06
06
12
11
Biomoulds Unidentified allochem
06

06
06
Vugs Debris/detritus
06
06
12

06
06
06
06
Microporosity Glauconite/chlorite
06
12
06

06
06
06
18
29
12
No qualifier used Micritic/Lime mud matrix/Muddy
55
18
30
24
18
35
06
68

755
325
282
460
395
687
226
393
440
400
497
571
453
345
Petrographic description of carbonate facies

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Geopetal/Internal sediment
55
06
1869
1870 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

foraminifera (Table 8). A different texture for the (304%), wackestone (25%) and packstone
matrix of the sample was explicitly stated by (149%) as the dominant textures in Sample 8
10% of the participants. (Table 7). The remaining 29 proposed textures
were dominated by a range of combinations of
Sample 6 these classifications (Fig. 10). In total, 48% of
Modal analysis indicates that this sample is dom- the participants did not assign a texture from a
inated by micrite (38%), intraclasts (24%) and recognized carbonate classification scheme.
peloids (215%) with subordinate foraminifera, Qualifiers were used in 774% of the classifica-
echinoids and bivalves; calcite cement tions; these were dominated by references to the
contributes 45% while porosity is 7% (Table 3; presence of dolomite in the sample (Table 8).
Fig. 8). Packstone and rudstone were the
dominant assigned textures (286% and 155%,
Sample 9
respectively); other commonly employed textures
This sample is dominated by 95% dolomite
included grainstone (101%), floatstone (89%)
cement with 5% intercrystalline porosity
and floatstone with a packstone matrix (77%)
(Table 3; Fig. 8). Participants used 49 different
(Table 7). The remaining 39 textures proposed for
names for this sample with dolomite (331%),
Sample 6 were dominated by various combina-
crystalline (139%), dolostone (108%) and
tions of the above classifications (Fig. 10). Only
grainstone (6%) dominating (Table 7). A total
179% of the participants did not employ a recog-
of 114% of responses did not state a specific
nized carbonate classification system. Qualifiers
texture for the lithology. The remaining 44
were employed in 56% of the classifications with
proposed names were dominated by nomencla-
references to the skeletal component and the
ture based around various dolomite and recrys-
presence of intraclasts dominating (Table 8).
tallized carbonate classification schemes
Some 113% of the participants specifically stated
(Fig. 10). Qualifiers were used in 313% of the
a different texture for the matrix of the sample.
classifications and were dominated by descrip-
tors of the crystal texture (Table 8).
Sample 7
A sample dominated by micrite (705%) and
argillaceous material (245%) along with subordi- Sample 10
nate bioclasts and quartz grains (Table 3; Fig. 8). Modal analysis of Sample 10 indicates a texture
Calcite cement is rare (05%), macropores account dominated by foraminifera (43%) and other bio-
for 025% of the volume of the lithology. Sample clasts along with subordinate siliciclastic grains.
7 was classified with some 39 different textures Calcite cement contributes 26% of the volume of
of which packstone (339%) and wackestone the sample along with 12% porosity (Table 3;
(22%) dominated. A significant number of par- Fig. 8). A grainstone was selected as the domi-
ticipants (77%) did not employ a recognized nant texture by 497% of the study participants,
carbonate classification system when naming this was followed by rudstone (18%) and
this sample (Table 7). The remaining classifica- packstone (72%) (Table 7). The remaining 25
tions were dominated by nomenclature employ- classifications were dominated either by nomen-
ing a wide range of combinations of clature derived from combinations of these three
the packstone and wackestone terminologies textures or from the sparite classes of the Folk
(Fig. 10). Boundstone and bindstone were also classification system. Only 3% of participants
used on a significant number of occasions did not employ a recognized classification for
(72% in total). Qualifiers were appended to the lithology (Fig. 10). Qualifiers were employed
601% of the classifications, mainly being by 601% of the participants; these were domi-
employed to describe component grains but nated by descriptors of the component grains
also focusing on the observation of lamination with only 36% of the participants mentioning
and stylolites (Table 8). the cement phase (Table 8). The presence of
more than one lithology, specifically the compo-
Sample 8 sition of the matrix in a rudstone or floatstone,
Sample 8 is dominated by peloids (33%), micrite was indicated by 42% of the participants.
(303%) and dolomite cement (263%) with rare
bioclasts and intraclasts; a small amount (08%) Sample 11
of calcite cement is observed, porosity is 38% Sample 11 is dominated by micrite (673%) and
(Table 3; Fig. 8). Participants assigned mudstone peloids (188%) with subordinate bioclasts;
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1871

dolomite (45%) and rare calcite (03%) cement is The other 19 classifications are dominated by a
observed, porosity is 48% (Table 3, Fig. 8). Par- range of nomenclature combining mudstones,
ticipants named a total of 46 textures with wacke- wackestones and packstones, or were classifiers
stone (282%), mudstone to wackestone (141%), from the Folk classes for micrite with only 18%
a basal mudstone overlain by an upper wacke- of responses not assigning a name from an
stone (86%), mudstone/wackestone (61%), established carbonate classification system. The
mudstone (55%) and mudstonewackestone majority of classifications (755%) did not
(55%) dominating (Table 7). The other 40 classi- employ any form of qualifiers in naming the
fications were dominated by a variety of combina- lithology (Table 8).
tions of the classes mudstone, wackestone and
packstone (Fig. 10). Qualifiers were incorporated
into 54% of the descriptions and were dominated DISCUSSION
by references to the nature of the component
grains. Some 19% of the participants specifically
Dunham or Folk?
stated that there were two lithologies present in
the sample (Table 8). The modified Dunham classification system
(Dunham, 1962) was employed by survey partic-
Sample 12 ipants to classify the vast majority of the sam-
A lithology dominated by ooids (578%) with ples in the study. Considering that the Folk
subordinate peloids (8%) and superficial ooids classification system (Folk, 1959, 1962) is still
(58%) and rare intraclasts. The sample also treated with equal emphasis in many introduc-
comprises 24% calcite cement and 4% porosity tory text books (e.g. Tucker & Wright, 1990;
(Table 3; Fig. 8). This lithology was assigned as Tucker, 2001; Scholle & Ulmer-Scholle, 2003),
a grainstone or oosparite by 742% and 92% of this raises the question, why then has the
the participants, respectively (Table 7). The Dunham classification system surpassed the
remaining 21 classifications were primarily Folk system as the preferred choice for describ-
nomenclature that appended another term from ing carbonate lithologies?
the Dunham classification with the term grain- There is no doubting that the 11 classes of the
stone; only 37% of participants did not employ Embry & Klovan (1971) modified version of the
an established carbonate classification scheme Dunham system are easier to learn and remember
(Fig. 10). Qualifiers were used by 718% of par- than the 28 classes of the Folk system. This may
ticipants, primarily to describe the ooid or go some way to explaining the broad adoption of
peloid content of the lithology (Table 8). the Dunham system, particularly by geoscientists
in the early stages of their career. Perhaps part of
Sample 13 the reason for the downfall of the Folk classifica-
An ooid dominated (618%) sample with abun- tion system is its apparently over-complicated
dant calcite cement (365%) and only 18% poro- nature. Do the grain-type based subdivisions of
sity (Table 3; Fig. 8). The majority of the Folk provide an interpretive value that justifies
participants in the study named Sample 13 as the effort required to arrive at them, particularly
either grainstone (84%) or oosparite (74%); the because these can be replaced easily by the use of
remaining 15 classifications were dominated by qualifiers in the Dunham system?
Dunham terminology suggesting the presence of Both classification systems consider the
micrite within the lithology (Table 7). As with the energy at the time of deposition, with Dunham
previous sample, 37% of the participants did not focusing on supporting fabrics and Folk focusing
employ an established carbonate classification on the presence or absence of the four compo-
scheme (Fig. 10). The use of qualifiers, in 675% nent classes and the percentage thereof. This
of the classifications, focused on the ooid content reliance on percentages and ratios in the Folk
and the cement phase of the lithology (Table 8). classification may be another hindrance to its
adoption, both in terms of the means of accu-
Sample 14 rately calculating the values and, particularly in
Sample 14 is dominated by micrite (99%) with industrial settings, in the investment in time
very rare argillaceous material and calcite required. Further, the calculated volume of
cement (Table 3; Fig. 8). Mudstone (742%) and grains in a lithology may vary wildly on the
wackestone (8%) were the dominant textures basis of the grain size and shape as well as on
employed in classifying this sample (Table 7). the orientation of the examined surface; this is
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1872 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

particularly the case when considering fossils. systems. The issue of mixed carbonatesiliciclas-
While it can be clearly demonstrated that the tic lithologies has been discussed by a number
modified Dunham classification system has sur- of authors with the consensus being that, where
passed Folk as the preferred system for the clas- carbonate components comprise 50% or more of
sification of carbonate lithologies, it is obvious the original constituents of the lithology then a
that some confusion still remains in the employ- carbonate classification system should be
ment of some elements of the Dunham system. employed (Krynine, 1948; Bramkamp & Powers,
1958; Folk, 1959; Leighton & Pendexter, 1962;
Hallsworth & Knox, 1999). Some classification
How significant is the problem?
schemes have been proposed specifically for
Having established the preference of the study mixed carbonatesiliciclastic sediments (e.g.
participants for the Dunham classification sys- Mount, 1985) but these have not been adopted
tem, an assessment of the degree of consistency widely with most authors electing either to
in assigning a texture can now be considered. describe the lithologies as siliciclastic-rich
The greatest consistency in classifications was carbonates or carbonate-rich siliciclastics.
observed in the two end members of the Dun-
ham system, i.e. in grainstones and mudstones. Crystalline carbonates
The three samples that produced the most Crystalline carbonates are defined as carbonate
uniform classifications (84% or greater) were all lithologies in which the original depositional fab-
classified as grainstone by the study participants ric has been totally obliterated by the processes of
(Tables 5 and 7; Fig. 11). All the remaining sam- recrystallization or replacement (sensu Dunham,
ples recorded a classification consistency of less 1962). Carbonate sediments are, by their very nat-
than 75% with 16 (64%) of the samples record- ure, highly susceptible to syn-depositional and
ing a dominant textural classification from less post-depositional alteration. Where the original
than 50% of the respondents. To place these depositional fabric of the sediment can be deter-
figures in context, in almost two-thirds of cases mined then this should be used to classify the
the majority of the participants would disagree lithology, along with appropriate diagenetic qual-
with the assigned classes of others. ifiers (for example, Sample 8). Where the recrys-
It may be argued that, as long as an individual tallization or replacement has obliterated the
is consistent in their use of the classification ter- primary fabric of the lithology, then the Dunham
minology, this will not unduly influence the classes crystalline limestone or crystalline dolo-
results of a study. However, it is rare that indivi- mite (more correctly crystalline dolostone) more
duals work in isolation, particularly in industry. than adequately describe the lithology, particu-
Fundamental inconsistencies in the assignment larly when used in conjunction with suitable
of textural classes will have significant conse- qualifiers (for example, Sample 9).
quences for the conclusions of studies or projects
involving large numbers of individuals.
Common pitfalls during carbonate
classification
When to use a carbonate classification system
This study has identified that the most common
It is important to define where it is appropriate reasons for the incorrect classification of
to use a carbonate classification system against carbonate lithologies are; incorrectly estimating
situations when other classification systems may the nature of the supporting fabric, inaccuracies
be more suitable. Confusion as to the applicabi- in estimating the grain size and the volume of
lity of a classification system dedicated to car- the component fractions, and confusion result-
bonates arises either when attempting to classify ing from the presence of more than one texture.
a mixed sedimentary system (for example,
mixed carbonate and siliciclastic sediments) or Mode of support
in classifying a lithology that has undergone Establishing the nature of the mode of support is
substantial recrystallization/replacement lar- relatively straightforward when confronted with
gely crystalline lithologies. a hand specimen. However, interpreting the
three-dimensional support from the two-dimen-
Mixed carbonatesiliciclastic lithologies sional surface of a polished slab or from a thin
A proportion of non-carbonate material is a section can prove challenging (Dunham, 1962;
ubiquitous component of most carbonate Harrell, 1981; Tucker & Wright, 1990). This task
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1873

is particularly difficult when estimating the Volumes of grain-size fractions


degree of grain contact in a lithology with well- The volumes of the different grain-size fractions
sorted (Longiaru, 1987; Jerram, 2001) or irregu- are the final component employed in the Dunham
larly-shaped grains (Dunham, 1962). It must also classification; the critical figure, in each case,
be considered that, when viewing a thin section, being 10%. In the original Dunham (1962) study,
it is not only grains at the surface that are being volumes were calculated on the basis of point
observed but also those through the entire thick- counting, where openings and deep indentations
ness (typically 30 lm) of the thin section. Thus, within grains were counted as grains. Grain vol-
at a constant packing density, a decrease in grain umes can also be accurately measured using
size results in an increase in the number of image analysis software or visually estimated
observed grain contacts (Harrell, 1981). These employing appropriate visual comparators.
issues can be overcome through a combination of Unfortunately, calculating the volume of the
experience in examining mud-free carbonates >2 mm component is not so straightforward. In
(Dunham, 1962) and through the employment of their modification, Embry & Klovan (1971) did
visual comparators of grain size (e.g. Jerram, not specifically propose a method for calculating
2001). the volume of the >2 mm size fraction in a
lithology. The typically small field of view rep-
Size of components resented by a thin section frequently results
The size of component grains can either be esti- in situations where the >2 mm component is
mated visually or accurately measured during either totally unrepresented (often the case in a
petrographic analysis or using digital image floatstone) or occupies the entire thin section (in
analysis software. The grain-size divisions of the the case of components larger than a few cen-
Dunham classification have seen some modifica- timetres). In a polished surface or thin section,
tions over time. The original Dunham classifica- it is also important to consider that the size of
tion defined only two grain-size categories: (i) the portion of the grain that lies outside of the
matrix defined as clay and fine-silt size sedi- plane of view will typically be larger than the
ment <20 lm in diameter; and (ii) grains any portion of the grain observed in the two-dimen-
particle >20 lm. The Embry & Klovan (1971) sional plane; therefore the two-dimensional area
classification modified the upper division for of the grains will be less than the three-dimen-
the matrix to 30 lm and also introduced a third sional volume of the grains. Where available,
category, comprising grains of >2 mm. Wright examination of hand specimens will greatly
(1992) proposed a further increase to the upper improve the estimation of the volume of grain-
limit for the matrix size in order to bring it into size fractions.
line with the upper limit for silt (62 lm). The
present authors concur with Wright (1992) that The presence of more than one texture
carbonate mud should be considered as clay to The presence of more than one texture in the
silt-grade sediment, as applied in studies of lithology is a common source of confusion dur-
recent carbonate sediments (e.g. Reijmer et al., ing classification. Such a situation may arise in
2009; Harris et al., 2015). many circumstances but is most common where
The sizes of grains observed in a randomly the thin section intersects a sedimentary struc-
oriented thin section are not truly representative ture, in lithologies containing large intraclasts or
of the grain sizes within the lithology. With extraclasts and where bioturbation is present
increasing grain size, there is a greater probabi- (for example, samples 1 and 11).
lity that the largest axis will not be intersected Where a sedimentary structure (for example,
in the thickness of the section; thus, the grain bed boundary, lamination or flaser bedding) is
sizes of smaller grains will be more accurately observed then the orientation and nature of the
measured than those of larger grains. Except bounding surfaces (if known) should be stated
where grain packing is cubic and the plane of and each of the textures should be separately
section is parallel to the point of contact of all described. Intraclasts and extraclasts can often
grains, the grain sizes measured in a two-dimen- be recognized by a range of characteristics.
sional plane will always be less than the actual Both grain types will show some evidence of
grain sizes in the lithology. Because such a surface abrasion with varying degrees of round-
packing arrangement is highly improbable, it ing and the truncation of grains, bioclasts and
can be inferred that measured 2D grain sizes are sedimentary structures at the outer margin.
an underestimate of true grain size. These grains may contain different cement
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1874 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

phases to the rest of the lithology and can also the case of Sample 5, a texture of floatstone
have rims that are encrusted, bored, cemented was the second most common (17%) classifica-
or altered. In the case of extraclasts, any bio- tion (Table 7), because more than 10% of the
clasts can be expected to be older than the host components in this sample are larger than
lithology. 2 mm the sample should, indeed, be classified
The process of bioturbation has long been as a floatstone. Sample 11 exhibited a very low
recognized as a complication to carbonate clas- degree of consistency with a majority classifica-
sification (Dunham, 1962; Reid et al., 1990; tion as wackestone by only 28% of the partici-
Wright, 1992). While bioturbation may be chal- pants. The remainder of the classifications for
lenging to recognize in thin section, it is rare this sample were dominated by a range of
that thin sections are studied in isolation and terminologies combining wackestone and
reference to the source lithology will typically mudstone textures. This confusion results from
aid in the recognition of the presence of ichno- the presence of two distinct textures in the
fabrics. sample. However, only 9% of respondents
explicitly stated that two textures are present.
Sample F was misidentified as a packstone by
Major outcomes of the classification results
41% of the participants with only 23% recog-
Taking into consideration the results and above nizing that the sample is matrix-supported and
discussion, each of the Dunham classes assigned is, thus, a wackestone.
by the majority of the participants will now be
discussed briefly and the areas of significant Packstone
confusion that were observed during the study Packstone was the dominant classification
will be highlighted. assigned to eight of the samples in the study
(samples C, D, F, H, 1, 4, 6 and 7) with a consis-
Mudstone tency between 28% and 61% (Fig. 11). The
The most common problems in describing majority of the samples in this classification had
mudstones are those related to a failure to cor- a low consistency, with seven of the eight sam-
rectly estimate the volume of grains in the ples being classified as packstone by less than
sample. This resulted in a significant number 45% of the participants. In these cases, the
of participants incorrectly classifying mud- remainder of the classifications were dominated
stones as wackestones and vice-versa (samples by wackestones and grainstones. It is obvious that
A, J, 3, 11 and 14) with a consequent low the most common errors occurring in the
level of consistency (30 to 74%) in the four misidentification of packstone are a failure to rec-
samples identified as mudstone (Fig. 11). In ognize the presence of a carbonate mud matrix
the majority of cases, a sample identified as a (for example, samples 4, C, D and H) and that the
mudstone by the majority of the participants is texture is grain-supported (for example, samples
typically assigned as wackestone in the second C and D). The latter is particularly true where the
most common classification (Tables 5 and 7). grains are peloids (Sample 4). Sample 6 was
In the case of Sample A, a significant number incorrectly classified as a packstone by 29% of
of participants (11%) misidentified the matrix the participants with only 16% recognizing that,
as grains, resulting in misclassification of the because more than 10% of the components are
sample as a packstone. For Sample 8, there larger than 2 mm and these support the texture,
was a significant division of opinion with 30% this is a rudstone. The lowest consistency in clas-
of the participants classifying the sample as sification was for Sample 1, a sample with more
mudstone, 25% classifying it as wackestone than one texture. Only 19% of participants
and 15% selecting packstone. On close inspec- explicitly stated this and described the packstone
tion, it is obvious that much of the matrix is, and wackestone lithology separately, the remain-
in fact, formed of neomorphosed peloids pro- der adopted combinations of classifiers in an
ducing a grain-supported classification of pack- attempt to reflect the complex lithology. The com-
stone. pacted nature of Sample 7 caused considerable
confusion with 37% of participants classifying
Wackestone this as packstone, followed by 22% stating
Three samples were identified by the majority wackestone and 8% failing to state any texture at
of participants as wackestone with a degree of all. Close examination reveals that the peloids or
consistency between 28% and 63% (Fig. 11). In intraclasts referenced by the participants are, in
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1875

fact, areas of micrite that have been isolated by

depositional texture no

Crystalline dolostone
Crystalline limestone
Recrystallization has
the development of dissolution seams.

resulted in the

recognizable
longer being
Grainstone
As mentioned previously, grainstones exhibited
the greatest consistency in the classifications
produced during the study. Of the five samples

The mode of binding

(The matrix between the binding organisms should be classified


is not identifiable
identified by the majority of the respondents as

Boundstone
Autochthonous Limestones - Original components were
grainstone (samples 1, 2, 10, 12 and 13), four
had a consistency of 74% or greater. A small

organically-bound during deposition


number of participants failed to recognize that
these samples were mud-free (for example, sam-

Organisms build a

Grain-supported the rock is supported supported by the


rigid framework -
ples 1 and 10) and, therefore, erroneously classi-

Framestone

separately)
framework
the rock is
fied them as packstones (Figs 9 and 10). Sample
10 was incorrectly identified as a grainstone by
50% of the participants, with only 18% recog-

Fig. 12. The clarified Dunham classification system. Appropriate qualifiers should be appended to class names.
nizing that more than 10% of the components

Organisms bind a pre-


were larger than 2 mm. However, these indivi-

existing substrate -

by the matrix
duals failed to recognize that the larger grains

Bindstone
were supported in a grainstone matrix and, thus,
misidentified the lithology as a rudstone rather
than the correct classification of a floatstone
with a grainstone matrix.

10% or more of the components are larger

Supported by the <2 Supported by the >2


No carbonate mud (conclusive identification usually requires

mm size fraction
examination of a hand specimen)

(The matrix should be classified


Rudstone
Allochthonous Carbonate - No evidence that the original components were organically-bound at the time of deposition
Floatstone
than sand grade (>2 mm)
Only Sample B was classified as a floatstone by
the majority (42%) of the participants (Fig. 11).

separately)
Whilst the grains are not in visible contact in
the plane of the thin section, when their nature
Matrix-supported

mm size fraction

Floatstone
and size are considered, it is highly probable
that the fabric is, in fact, grain-supported. In this
case, the sample would be more correctly classi-
fied as a rudstone, the classification that was
employed by 11% of the participants. Samples 5
grains
supported by the

(63 m - 2 mm)

and 10 are both floatstones but were incorrectly Grainstone


component

The rock is
(<63 m)

classified by the majority of participants as


sand-grade
Less than 10% of the components are larger than sand grade (>2 mm)

wackestone and grainstone, respectively. In both


cases, the majority of the participants failed to
recognize that more than 10% of the volume
Fabric is supported
10% or greater of the by the sand-grade

was comprised of grains larger than 2 mm.


(63 m - 2 mm)

Packstone

Confusion in differentiating between floatstone


grains
Contains carbonate mud (clay-silt grade, <63 m)

and rudstone textures results from a failure to


correctly determine the three-dimensional sup-
port to the fabric, i.e. is the fabric supported by
volume of the rock is

the grain-size fraction that is greater than 2 mm


Fabric is supported by the carbonate mud

comprised of grains
of 63 m or larger

Wackestone

or by the less than 2 mm matrix? Further misun-


derstanding appears to arise as to the role of the
(<63 m) component

mud to silt-grade fraction in the naming of these


coarse-grained textures. Very few of the partici-
pants assigned a separate classification to
the rock is composed
More than 90% of

of the carbonate
mud component

describe the nature of the matrix.


Carbonate
mudstone
(<63 m)

Rudstone
Rudstone is the dominant fabric for samples E
and G with a relatively low consistency of 39%
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1876 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

and 34%, respectively (Fig. 11). In both of well as flushing out those that have fallen by the
these samples, the second most common classi- wayside or lead to ambiguities and confusion.
fications, grainstone (34%) in Sample E and After identifying the most common areas of con-
packstone (22%) in Sample G perfectly describe fusion in the utilization of the existing classifi-
the matrix in the rudstone. As with the float- cation system, the present authors offer the
stone classification, most of the respondents following clarifications and modifications
neglected to assign a texture to specifically (Fig. 12).
classify the matrix within the rudstone. Most of
the participants failed to correctly identify sam-
Carbonate mudstone
ples B and 6 as rudstones, instead classifying
them as packstone (29%) and floatstone (42%), Definition
respectively. As with the floatstone classifica- Carbonate mudstone is defined as a matrix-sup-
tion, these low consistency levels reflect the ported carbonate-dominated rock comprised of
common confusion as to how to correctly clas- more than 90% carbonate mud (<63 lm) compo-
sify coarse-grained lithologies, in terms of the nent (Fig. 12).
grain size, nature of the support and how to
classify the matrix. Common sources of confusion
The most common cause for the misidentifica-
Crystalline carbonates tion of carbonate mudstones is to incorrectly
Sample 9 was assigned the classification of dolo- overestimate the volume of sand grade or larger
mite by 33% of the participants (Fig. 11). (63 lm) grains in the lithology, typically result-
Respondents applied a wide variety of nomen- ing in misidentification as wackestone. This
clature in attempting to classify this sample, source of error can be negated by accurately
with 11% not supplying any name at all measuring the grain component either via point
(Fig. 10; Table 7). This highlights the confusion counting, as per the method of Dunham (1962),
that still exists in the classification of carbonate or by employing image analysis software. Where
rocks in which the original depositional fabric these facilities are not available, or time is lim-
can no longer be discerned. Only 3% of partici- ited, an accurate estimation may be made by uti-
pants employed the Wright (1992) classification lizing visual comparators.
system for classification of diagenetic textures, Another source of error is a failure to recog-
with two different textures being proposed. nize the presence of sand grade and larger
Under the original Dunham classification sys- grains (63 lm), especially where the original
tem, this sample would be described as a fabric has been partially obscured during diage-
crystalline dolomite, a classification that was netic processes such as neomorphism or com-
employed by just 2% of the participants. paction. This is particularly the case for grains
lacking internal definition, such as peloids
(Fuchtbauer, 1974). Careful examination of a
A REBOOTED DUNHAM broken surface of a hand specimen will usually
CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM allow the observer to recognize the presence of
grains. Where a hand specimen is not available
On the basis of this study, it is clear that the then the observation of a mottled texture may
Dunham system, and modifications thereof, is hint at neomorphism. In such cases, examina-
the most widely adopted scheme employed in tion under cross-polarized light or with
the classification of carbonate lithologies. How- reduced illumination may help to reveal the
ever, it is also obvious that there is significant primary texture.
confusion in the application of the system and
that this results in an alarming lack of consis- Calcimudstone
tency in the description of carbonate sediments. The term calcimudstone (Wright, 1992) was
The term rebooted is very deliberately introduced in an attempt to avoid confusion
employed here because this is not an attempt to between the Dunham textural class mudstone
develop a new carbonate classification system. and the same term as employed to describe clay
Instead, this is an effort to clarify the existing and silt-grade siliciclastic facies. However, cal-
system, keeping those original elements and cimudstone has not been widely adopted in the
modifications that have been most widely nomenclature (it was used by just two partici-
adopted, and add value to the classifications, as pants in the survey), perhaps for the following
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1877

reasons: Aragonite dominates as the clay to silt- or greater grain-size fraction, resulting in misiden-
grade matrix in Recent carbonate sediments tification as carbonate mudstone. Diagenetic pro-
(Lowenstam & Epstein, 1957; Wells, 1962; Curtis cesses may complicate the recognition and
et al., 1963; Matthews, 1966; Stockman et al., description of primary grains, thereby making it
1967; Wilber et al., 1990; Reijmer et al., 2009) difficult to establish the nature of support.
yet the definition of calcimudstone (Wright, The presence of grains larger than sand grade
1992) precludes aragonite as a matrix. Similarly, (>2 mm) adds a further complication to the
clay to silt-grade dolomite is recognized as a pri- identification of wackestones. As discussed ear-
mary component in some arid depositional set- lier, the volume of larger grains is typically
tings (Wells, 1962; Curtis et al., 1963; Kirkham, under-represented in the two-dimensional plane
2004; Sadooni et al., 2010; Geske et al., 2015); of a thin section, i.e. grains appear to be smaller
however, this is disqualified as a matrix under than they really are. This issue can be avoided
the strict definition of calcimudstone. Another by examination of a hand specimen alongside
difficulty is that the inherent instability of arago- the thin section. If a hand specimen is not avail-
nite in the burial realm results in neomorphism able, then visual comparators should be utilized.
of the clay to silt-grade aragonite matrix to more
stable forms of calcite (Lambert et al., 2006).
Packstone
Dolomitization adds yet another level of com-
plexity; primary depositional textures may still Definition
be recognized even in relatively strongly dolomi- Packstone is a carbonate-dominated lithology
tized lithologies. In such cases, it may remain containing carbonate mud (<63 lm) in a fabric
possible to distinguish a matrix as defined by supported by a sand grade (63 lm to 2 mm)
grain size, yet, the primary mineralogy of the grain-size fraction and where less than 10% of
clay to silt-grade sediments may be impossible the volume is comprised of grains >2 mm.
to decipher. Because the term calcimudstone is
intended to reflect the depositional texture of Common sources of confusion
the lithology, it can only be utilized accurately Failure to identify that the fabric is supported
where the primary mineralogy of the clay to silt- by the sand grade grain-size fraction can lead to
grade matrix is known to have been calcite. misidentification of a packstone as wackestone.
The term carbonate mudstone addresses all Such a misclassification may occur where the
of the problems outlined above. Where appropri- lithology has undergone some degree of diagene-
ate, this term can be combined with suitable sis, obscuring the primary grains, or where few
mineralogical or diagenetic modifiers in order to grain contacts are observed typically with
convey more details of the lithofacies being coarser-grained lithologies. Clarification of the
described, for example; aragonite carbonate mode of support is greatly aided where a hand
mudstone, neomorphosed carbonate mudstone specimen is available; alternatively, visual com-
or dolomitized carbonate mudstone. parators are very useful in visualizing the three-
dimensional relationship of grains.
Another source of confusion occurs where
Wackestone packstones with very small volumes of carbo-
Definition nate mud are misclassified as grainstone. This
A wackestone is a carbonate-dominated rock in issue is easily resolved; the presence of any
which the carbonate mud (<63 lm) component quantity of carbonate mud precludes a classifica-
supports a fabric comprising 10% or more very tion of grainstone.
fine-sand grade (63 lm) or larger grains but A further cause of misclassification is incor-
where less than 10% of the rock is formed of rectly estimating the volume of the component
grains larger than sand grade (>2 mm). grains >2 mm. As discussed for wackestone, this
error can be reduced through the use of hand
Common sources of confusion specimens and visual comparators.
As with carbonate mudstones, the most common
Mud the packstone problem
sources of confusion in the classification of
The Dunham and Folk classification systems
wackestones are related to the identification and
both considered carbonate mud as material pre-
accurate estimation of the volume of grains of
sent at the time of deposition and, consequently,
63 lm and larger. The most frequent source of
interpreted its presence as evidence of a low-
error is to underestimate the volume of the 63 lm
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1878 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

energy depositional environment (Folk, 1959, sub-surface will increase the apparent proportion
1962; Dunham, 1962). However, Dunham (1962) of the claysilt grade component (Friedman, 1985;
cautioned that packstone fabrics are problematic Reid et al., 1990). Conversely, grainstone and
when attempting to interpret the texture purely packstone-like textures may result from diagenetic
as a product of the energy regime at the time of processes such as grainification resulting from
deposition the grain-supported fabric is indica- the exposure desiccation of carbonate muds in
tive of relatively high energies, yet the presence peritidal, paludal or pedogenic carbonates
of mud suggests low energy. (Wright, 1990, 1992).
A number of explanations were offered by
Dunham (1962) for this apparent contradiction,
Grainstone
including: compaction of wackestones resulting
in spaces being filled with mud; mud infiltering Definition
into previously deposited, mud-free, sediment; Grainstone is defined as a carbonate-dominated
carbonate grains being produced in situ in a rock that does not contain any carbonate mud
low-energy environment; incomplete winnowing and where less than 10% of the components are
of fine-grained material; partial leaching of mud; larger than 2 mm.
and, finally, mixing of sediment by bioturbation.
Numerous further explanations for the presence Common sources of confusion
of both mud and grains have been offered subse- The greatest source of confusion in the classifica-
quently. These can be broadly divided into pro- tion of grainstone is misidentifying fine-grained
cesses controlled by energy or biota, and in situ internal micrite, that has been generated by
syn-depositional and post-depositional processes. in situ processes, as claysilt grade sediment and,
The settling of nektonic or planktonic orga- hence, misclassifying the grainstone as a pack-
nisms from the water column into a low-energy, stone. Careful examination of the fine-grained
mud-rich, environment will create a fine-grained component at high magnification should easily
packstone texture (Wright, 1992). Sediments determine whether the material is an internal
may be bound or baffled by benthos with a low micrite cement or primary carbonate mud sedi-
preservation potential, such as microbial mats or ment. The presence of any primary carbonate
seagrass (Bramkamp & Powers, 1958; Wright, mud precludes a classification of grainstone.
1992; Perry, 1999). Strictly speaking, such As with the other grain-rich fabrics, the
sediments should be considered as bindstone or determination of the size and abundance of the
bafflestone under the Embry & Klovan (1971) coarser-grained component (>2 mm) may cause
modification but such a classification would problems. As already discussed, an examination
require identification of the biological agent. of hand specimens and the use of visual com-
Fine-grained carbonate material can be trans- parators can reduce this error.
ported into cavities in reefs where lower energy
conditions result in their accumulation and How little mud is no mud?
retention (Newell, 1955; Dunham, 1962). The original definition of grainstone (Dunham,
Fine-grained carbonate material can also be gen- 1962) stated that it must contain less than 1%
erated by a number of in situ processes in a variety mud to fine-silt grade (<20 lm) sediment. Subse-
of environments (Reid et al., 1990; Wright, 1992). quent modifications to the Dunham classifica-
Internal micritic carbonates precipitate in shallow tion system (Embry & Klovan, 1971; Wright,
sub-surface cavities in high-energy settings 1992) reduced the permitted amount of carbo-
including reefs, beachrocks and hardgrounds nate mud in a grainstone to zero, although with-
(Newell, 1955; Macintyre, 1985; Reid et al., 1990) out explicitly stating this modification. Given
nucleation of Mg-calcite occurs either in suspen- that grainstone facies are interpreted to have
sion, as isolated crystals, or as aggregates forming been deposited under high-energy conditions, it
spherical peloids (Friedman, 1985; Reid et al., is sensible to preclude the presence of primary
1990). Precipitation of micrite in intergranular carbonate mud from this classification.
pores within calcretes will form a diagenetic pack-
stone (Tucker & Wright, 1990). Diagenetic welding
Floatstone
of pellets during burial will produce a fine-
grained matrix (F uchtbauer, 1974), thus incre- Definition
mentally converting a grainstone to a mudstone. A floatstone is a carbonate-dominated rock
Micritization of unstable bioclasts in the shallow where more than 10% of the volume is
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1879

comprised of grains larger than 2 mm and the component larger than 2 mm. Failure to accu-
fabric is supported by the component that is rately describe the matrix will result in inaccu-
2 mm and smaller. rate models for fluid flow in the sub-surface. For
example, consider the likely difference in flow
Common sources of confusion properties between a rudist floatstone with a
The greatest causes of confusion in classifying carbonate mudstone matrix and a rudist float-
floatstones are incorrectly estimating the size stone with a rudist grainstone matrix.
and volume of the grain-size component greater
than 2 mm. As mentioned previously, any ran-
Rudstone
domly oriented plane will produce a two-
dimensional view that will underestimate the Definition
size of larger grains. These issues are best Rudstone is a carbonate-dominated rock where
resolved by examining a corresponding hand more than 10% of the volume is comprised of
specimen alongside the thin sections. Where a grains larger than 2 mm and these grains sup-
hand specimen is not available, then visual port the fabric of the rock.
comparators should be utilized.
A further source of misclassification when Common sources of confusion
using thin sections is failing to identify whether Challenges to the correct classification of rud-
the grain-size fraction that is larger than 2 mm stones are identical to those for floatstones. They
is supporting the lithology, or is floating in the are as follows: failure to correctly estimate the
2 mm and finer matrix. Again, examination of a size and volume of the grain-size component
hand specimen of the lithology and the use of that is greater than 2 mm, confusion as to the
visual comparators will help to clarify the mode mode of support, and failure to separately clas-
of support. sify the 2 mm and smaller component within
Another very common error in the classifica- the sample. As with all coarse-grained litho-
tion of floatstones is a failure to separately logies, where possible, thin sections should be
describe the matrix within the lithology. In the examined alongside hand specimens, or visual
case of a floatstone (and a rudstone), the matrix comparators should be used where this is not
is defined as all of the components of 2 mm and possible.
smaller. An example of an appropriate use of
the floatstone classification would be rudist Boundstone
floatstone with a peloid packstone matrix.
Definition
Why is describing the matrix so important? A boundstone is an autochthonous carbonate-
Embry & Klovan (1971) stated that the matrix dominated rock in which there is any form of
(grains of 2 mm or smaller) should be described evidence that the original components were
separately when classifying coarse-grained organically-bound at the time of deposition;
lithologies (floatstone and rudstone). Some however, the mode of binding is not identifi-
sedimentologists attempt to circumvent this sug- able.
gestion by adopting prefixes such as dirty
(meaning carbonate mud-rich) and clean (im- Common sources of confusion
plying very little, if any, carbonate mud in the The greatest challenge to recognizing whether a
lithology) when describing floatstones and lithology was organically-bound at the time of
rudstones. deposition, and the mode of binding, is one of
The presence or absence of large bioclasts is scale. The limited coverage of a thin section
not simply a result of the energy regime at the makes it extremely problematic to conclusively
time of deposition. Many bioclasts are deposited establish that the sediment was organically-
in situ, particularly when considering burrowing bound at the time of deposition. Confirming the
fauna. For this reason, it is important to fully mode of binding is even more challenging. In
characterize and classify the matrix within the order to conclusively establish that a rock is
sample, that is, the 2 mm and finer grain-size organically-bound, it is necessary to make larger
fraction. scale observations, i.e. at the outcrop or core-
Another consideration is that the porosity and scale (Embry & Klovan, 1971).
permeability of a coarse-grained sample will be All types of boundstone must, by definition,
largely controlled by the matrix rather than the possess original components that have been
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1880 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

organically-bound (Dunham, 1962). These the term boundstone (past tense rocks bound
components may be volumetrically scarce and at the time of deposition) is grammatically more
intimately associated with the binding organism, correct than the term bindstone (present tense),
for example single grains bound within a micro- the term boundstone should be used to describe
bial mat, or they may form the bulk of the vol- all organically-bound fabrics. This argument
ume of the lithology, for example the sediment neglects that Embry & Klovan (1971) specifically
between branching corals. The description and state that the term boundstone should be
classification of these components are very retained to classify authochthonous limestones
important, both in terms of the palaeoenviron- in which the specific mode of organic binding
mental interpretation and when considering the cannot be recognized.
flow of geofluids. For example, to describe a Further, whilst the argument may hold from a
rock that is organically-bound by coral, but grammatical perspective, it neglects that, in
where the mode of binding and support is order to maintain consistency, such a modifica-
unknown an appropriate classification would be tion would also necessitate the correction of
coral boundstone with a bioclastic packstone the other Embry & Klovan (1971) terminology of
matrix. framestone to framedstone and bafflestone to
baffledstone. The purpose of this study is to
simplify and clarify the classification of carbo-
Bindstone
nate lithologies, the best way to achieve this is
Definition to avoid unnecessary modification and maintain
A bindstone is an autochthonous carbonate- consistency in terminology. The classes frame-
dominated rock in which the original compo- stone and bafflestone are well-established, the
nents of the supporting matrix were organically- term bindstone is therefore retained.
bound through stabilization of the sediment at
the time of deposition.
Framestone
Common sources of confusion Definition
The sources of confusion detailed above for Framestone is an autochthonous carbonate-
boundstone are all applicable to bindstone. An dominated rock supported by a rigid organic
additional area of potential confusion is the framework developed at the time of deposition.
mechanism of stabilization. This has tradition-
ally been held to be in the form of an encrusta- Common sources of confusion
tion and binding of the sediment surface (Embry The sources of confusion detailed above for
& Klovan, 1971). To bind a substrate is to physi- boundstone are also applicable to framestone.
cally restrain it and prevent any further move- The term framework was originally defined as a
ment. The term bindstone should not therefore wave-resistant organic framework but has subse-
be limited to fabrics where organisms bind the quently been employed to describe a broad spec-
sediment through horizontal growth coating the trum of organically-influenced growth fabrics,
surface. Organisms may also stabilize sediments including non-calcareous fabrics lacking a rigid
via penetration into the substrate, such as with structure (Insalaco, 1998). The Insalaco (1998)
the development of rhizomes beneath sea grass classification system adopted a descriptive
meadows (Davies, 1970). nomenclature, setting definitive criteria for the
The definition of a bindstone requires the pres- classification of scleractinian coral growth forms
ence of a pre-existing substrate that is stabilized (Fig. 5). This system can easily be employed for
either by organisms coating the sediment surface other organisms yet adoption has been limited.
or though stabilization by the penetrative growth This is probably due to observations being
of organisms. Lithologies that are composed pre- required at the outcrop-scale, ideally with three-
dominantly or exclusively of the coating organ- dimensional exposures.
ism to produce a framework-supported fabric are,
by definition, classified as framestones. Bafflestone
At the point of introduction, Embry & Klovan
Bindstone or boundstone? (1971) noted that bafflestone was the least com-
It has been argued by Wright (1992) that the mon and most interpretive of their new classifi-
usage of the terms bindstone and boundstone cations, stating that its identification required:
has been largely synonymous and that, because . . .the presence of a large number of in situ
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1881

stalk-shaped fossils, and a good imagination on ADDING VALUE TO THE


the part of the geologist. CLASSIFICATION THE USE OF
The greatest problem with the term baffle- QUALIFIERS
stone is that it requires knowledge of the mode
of formation that may be impossible to assess. The addition of modifiers and intensifiers as
The first challenge is to assess whether a verti- qualifiers to a classification will significantly
cal growth fabric was constratal or superstratal, increase the value of the naming of a lithology
sensu Gili et al. (1995), at the time of fabric (Table 9). Modifiers, and intensifiers, may be
formation. A superstratal mode of growth at used to describe components, sedimentary struc-
least has the potential to baffle flow, with a tures, mineralogy or any other features that
consequent dumping of sediment load, whilst assist in the accurate description and interpreta-
a constratal mode of growth does not. Colonial tion of the lithology. The use of modifiers has
filter feeding organisms or organisms depen- been encouraged by many authors (Folk, 1959;
dent on photosynthesis are predisposed Dunham, 1962; Embry & Klovan, 1971; Wright,
towards superstratal growth. Further evidence 1992; Insalaco, 1998) yet there is clearly still sig-
of superstratal growth is provided by encrusta- nificant reticence in their adoption qualifiers
tion and some forms of bioerosion. Once were not used in 23 to 76% of the classifications
superstratal growth has been inferred a signifi- for the samples in this study (Table 5). Some
cant problem remains how can it be proved authors have proposed rigid guidelines in the
that the relief of the growth form was baffling construction of classifications (Folk, 1959; Bis-
the current and enhancing sedimentation? This sell & Chilingar, 1967) while others have pro-
is a challenging question to answer. Compar- moted complete freedom with little, if any,
ison at outcrop-scale with laterally adjacent guidance (Dunham, 1962; Embry & Klovan,
areas, where the growth fabric is absent, may 1971). It is, perhaps, this dichotomy in guidance
allow relative sedimentation rates to be calcu- that has resulted in a degree of brevity that can
lated but such an assessment is highly subjec- limit the value of classifications.
tive. The following suggestions as to the use of
After 45 years of baffling the geology commu- qualifiers are provided in an attempt to encou-
nity, it is timely to let this term fall by the way- rage the employment of modifiers and intensi-
side. The growth fabrics formerly encompassed fiers. The point of these guidelines is to add
by the term bafflestone can be appropriately value to carbonate classifications; they are not a
classified under framestone. rigid system to be memorized and strictly
adhered to. Given the infinite variety of textures
that can occur in carbonate lithologies, such an
Crystalline limestone and Crystalline
inflexible system would be meaningless. Instead,
dolostone
users are encouraged to adopt those points that
Definition apply to their circumstances and, where appro-
A crystalline limestone or dolostone is a carbo- priate, modify these to their needs.
nate-dominated rock in which recrystallization
has resulted in the original depositional texture
The role of modifiers
no longer being recognizable.
Modifiers are appended to a classification in
Common sources of confusion order to provide a more detailed, and useful,
There is a surprising amount of variability in description of the lithology. Modifiers should
the description of crystalline carbonate litholo- only be employed where they highlight an ele-
gies. This appears to reflect a lack of confidence ment of the lithology that is significant, either in
or knowledge in the description of recrystallized terms of uniquely describing the lithology or in
fabrics and confusion as to whether these could terms of the interpretation, of either the
fit into the context of the Dunham classification palaeoenvironment or diagenetic history. Obvi-
system. Unfortunately, the diagenetic modifica- ously, it is not possible to define an absolute
tion to the classification of carbonates as pro- cut-off point or percentage at which a modifier
posed by Wright (1992) has seen little uptake. A becomes necessary because this is entirely
simple solution is to describe the lithology as dependent on circumstances. The modifier is
crystalline limestone or crystalline dolostone typically appended before the classifier; several
along with appropriate qualifiers. modifiers may be employed in sequence as
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1882 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi
Table 9. The clarified Dunham classifications as appropriate. Any feature of a carbonate lithology
assigned to the 24 lithologies used in the study. may be used as a modifier, including, but not
Sample Lithology name
limited to, the type and nature of the component
grains and matrix, sedimentary structures,
A Carbonate mudstone cement phases, diagenetic textures and pores.
B Gastropod rudstone with intraparticle
porosity and carbonate mudstone matrix Using modifiers to describe component grains
The most common use of modifiers during this
C Fragmented gastropod packstone study was in the description of the components
D Fragmented gastropod packstone within the samples (Table 5), of which bioclasts
E Fragmented and abraded bivalve
were the most often cited. In the majority of
rudstone lacking matrix cases, the level of detail did not progress beyond
a statement of bioclast (or a variant thereof, for
F Fragmented gastropod wackestone example fossil or shell), only occasionally was
G Gastropod rudstone with fragmented more detail offered (for example, gastropod, rud-
gastropod packstone matrix ist or foraminifera).
H Fragmented gastropod packstone On the basis that components are the domi-
nant control on classification, the component
I Ooid grainstone modifier should be appended immediately before
J Fragmented gastropod wackestone the texture name. Where only one modifier is
1 Two lithologies separated by a planar
employed then construction is simple, for exam-
contact. Lower lithology: Bioturbated ple peloid packstone or ooid grainstone. Where
fragmented bioclast wackestone. more than one component qualifier is used, the
Upper lithology: Fragmented bioclast dominant qualifier should be retained prior to
packstone with common ostracods the texture and the subordinate qualifiers should
2 Calcite cemented peloid grainstone be appended after the texture, for example peloid
with abundant ooids and coated grains packstone with gastropods or ooid grainstone
with bivalves and extraclasts. The suffix -al
3 Fragmented bioclast wackestone
should be avoided because its inclusion does not
4 Peloid packstone with fragmented bioclasts add any value to the classification and may lead
5 Orbitolinid foraminifera floatstone with to confusion, for example, a peloidal packstone
a fragmented bioclast packstone matrix is no clearer than a peloid packstone.
In addition to identifying the important
6 Orbitolinid foraminifera and intraclast
rudstone with a peloid packstone matrix
grains, modifiers can also be employed as an
adjective to convey more information about
7 Argillaceous wackestone with abundant these grains, for example fragmented ostracod
pressure-solution seams wackestone or coarse-grained gastropod pack-
8 Peloid packstone with abundant isolated stone. Intensifiers can be used to further empha-
dolomite rhombs size particular properties of the components, for
9 Unimodal planar-s crystalline dolostone example, very poorly sorted ostracod packstone
with rare intercrystalline porosity or fragmented bivalve packstone with very fine-
grained ooids.
10 Larger benthic foraminifera floatstone with
a foraminifera grainstone matrix
Using modifiers to describe the matrix
11 Two lithologies separated by an irregular Matrix has become somewhat of a blanket term
contact, possibly bioturbation. and, as such, is typically neglected during clas-
Lower lithology: Carbonate mudstone
with rare fragmented bioclasts.
sification (Table 5). Where appropriate, matrix-
Upper lithology: Fragmented bioclast related modifiers and intensifiers can signifi-
wackestone cantly enhance the value of the classification.
The qualifiers pertaining to the matrix should be
12 Calcite cemented coarse-grained ooid
grainstone
appended at the end of the classification, for
example, bivalve packstone with rare ostracods
13 Calcite cemented ooid grainstone and a mottled micrite matrix.
14 Carbonate mudstone The description of the matrix is particularly
important in floatstones and rudstones. Here,
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1883

the matrix should, effectively, receive its own wackestone alludes to a rock that is much more
classification, for example, calcareous algae rud- porous than a mollusc wackestone with vugs.
stone with a well-sorted bioclast packstone
matrix. Modifiers for recrystallized carbonate
The only totally recrystallized sample in this
Using modifiers to describe sedimentary study (Sample 9) produced a plethora of rock
structures names (Fig. 10). This, perhaps, emphasizes a
Some sedimentary structures may be observed at general lack of confidence in describing recrys-
the scale of the thin section. Where such struc- tallized textures, with more than 11% of partici-
tures are pertinent to the description of the pants electing to not assign any texture at all.
lithology then an appropriate modifier should be In an attempt to address this issue, it is sug-
appended to the classification. Where the sedi- gested to revert to the guidelines of Dunham
mentary feature is ubiquitous or dominant then (1962). The texture is initially classified as
it is appropriate to insert the modifier prior to either crystalline limestone or crystalline dolo-
the classification, for example, laminated ooid stone. Once this has been done, then modifiers
packstone or bioturbated carbonate mudstone. that describe physical textures or diagenesis can
In cases where the feature is relatively uncom- be appended as appropriate. For totally recrys-
mon, or of minor consequence, then it may be tallized carbonates, the descriptive terminologies
appended to the end of the classification, for of Friedman (1965) and Sibley & Gregg (1987)
example, ooid packstone with bioturbation or offer an excellent starting point for the selection
carbonate mudstone with poorly-defined lamina- of modifiers, for example, unimodal planar-s
tion. crystalline dolostone.

Using modifiers to describe cement phases


Lithologies with more than one texture
The presence of a cement phase, whether it be
syn-depositional or diagenetic, is often impor- A particular point of confusion results when
tant to the classification of a carbonate lithology. either two or more textures are present within
As with sedimentary structures, the position of the lithology or where the texture is believed to
the modifier will affect how the emphasis of that lie at the border of two classes. In attempting to
feature is perceived. Where the cement phase is convey these situations, participants used a wide
pervasive or dominant, the modifier will be best variety of nomenclature, for example, wacke/
placed prior to the classification, for example, packstone, wackestone/packstone, wackepack-
calcite cemented rudist grainstone. Where the stone, wackestonepackstone, wackestone pack-
cement is of less significance, then it may be stone, wackestone (packstone), wackestone to
appended to the end of the classification, for packstone, wackestone and packstone. Many of
example, bryozoa wackestone with planar-s these terms are used indiscriminately (i.e. in
dolomite. both of the circumstances) and with a great deal
of inconsistency, even by the same worker.
Using modifiers to describe other diagenetic Because these various combinations will be
features interpreted very differently by different workers,
Diagenetic features can be treated similarly to there is a significant probability of introducing
sedimentary structures and cement phases. The error and confusion into a classification scheme.
modifier for significant and pervasive diagenetic Fortunately, these issues are easily addressed.
features may be appended prior to the classifica- In circumstances where more than one distinct
tion, for example, neomorphosed carbonate texture is observed in a lithology, the two tex-
mudstone; less important features should be tures should be separately described and the
appended to the end of the classification, for nature of their relationship should be clearly
example, neomorphosed gastropod wackestone stated, for example, bioclast wackestone with
with microstylolites. bioturbation infilled with peloid grainstone or
interlaminated peloid packstone and ostracod
Using modifiers to describe pores wackestone.
Details about primary and secondary porosity can In cases where a texture is initially inter-
also be integrated into the classification using the preted as sitting at the border between two
same criteria as outlined above for sedimentary classes, a careful review of the class definitions
structures, etc. For example, a vuggy mollusc should allow a definitive decision to be made.
2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
1884 S. W. Lokier and M. Al Junaibi

If a degree of doubt remains, then this can be Sedimentology (Eds V. George, H.J.B. Chilingar and W.F.
reflected as a qualifier in the lithology name, Rhodes), Vol. 9, Part A, pp. 87168. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Bramkamp, R.A. and Powers, R.W. (1958) Classification of
for example, grain-rich bioclast wackestone. Arabian carconate rocks. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., 69,
13051318.
Cuffey, R.J. (1985) Expanded reef-rock textural classification
A FINAL WORD ON THE REBOOTED and the geologic history of bryozoan reefs. Geology, 13,
DUNHAM CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM 307310.
Curtis, R., Evans, G., Kinsman, D.J.J. and Shearman, D.J.
(1963) Association of dolomite and anhydrite in the recent
It is clear that the accurate classification of sediments of the Persian Gulf. Nature, 197, 679680.
carbonate lithologies is best achieved through Davies, G.R. (1970) Carbonate bank sedimentation, Eastern
the integration of all scales of observations uti- Shark Bay, Western Australia. In: Carbonate
lizing all available data sets. Again, it is empha- Sedimentation and Environments, Shark Bay, Western
Australia (Eds B.W. Logan, G.R. Davies, J.F. Read and D.E.
sized that the above guidelines are offered in Cebulski), AAPG Memoir, 13, 85168.
order to introduce simplicity, clarity and, to Dunham, R.J. (1962) Classification of carbonate rocks
some extent, conformity to the description of according to depositional texture. In: Classification of
carbonate rocks. These are not a set of hard and Carbonate Rocks (Ed. W.E. Ham), Am. Assoc. Pet. Geol.
fast rules. The user must exercise restraint and Mem., 1, 108121.
Embry, A.F. and Klovan, J.E. (1971) A Late Devonian reef
select those elements that are important to the tract on Northeastern Banks Island, NWT. Bull. Can. Pet.
project in hand. What is the intention of the Geol., 19, 730781.
classification? Which features are significant Folk, R.L. (1954) The distinction between grain size and
enough to be emphasized in the facies name and mineral composition in sedimentary-rock nomenclature. J.
which features would be better placed in the Geol., 62, 344359.
Folk, R.L. (1959) Practical petrographic classification of
description? A recrystallized bioturbated coarse- limestones. AAPG Bull., 43, 138.
grained gastropod packstone with isolated intra- Folk, R.L. (1962) Spectral subdivision of limestone types. In:
particle pores may be a perfectly accurate name Classification of Carbonate Rocks A Symposium (Ed.
but are all of these modifiers required? Would W.E. Ham), Am. Assoc. Pet. Geol. Mem., 1, 6284.
bioturbated gastropod packstone be equally Friedman, G.M. (1965) Terminology of crystallization
textures and fabrics in sedimentary rocks. J. Sed. Res., 35,
effective? 643655.
It is clear that the Dunham classification sys- Friedman, G.M. (1985) The problem of submarine cements
tem, as modified by Embry & Klovan (1971), is, in classifying reefrock: an experience in frustration. In:
by far, the most widely utilized scheme for the Carbonate Cements (Eds N. Schneidermann and P.M
classification of carbonate lithologies. This pop- Harris), SEPM Spec. Publ., 36, 117121.
F
uchtbauer, H. (1974) Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks 1.
ularity is, in itself, a statement of the robustness John Wiley and Sons, Stuttgart.
of the Dunham system and, beyond the minor Geske, A., Lokier, S., Dietzel, M., Richter, D.K., Buhl, D.
modifications and clarifications suggested and Immenhauser, A. (2015) Magnesium isotope
herein, there is no reason why a new carbonate composition of sabkha porewater and related (Sub-) recent
classification system is required. stoichiometric dolomites, Abu Dhabi (UAE). Chem. Geol.,
393394, 112124.
Gili, E., Masse, J.P. and Skelton, P.W. (1995) Rudists as
gregarious sediment-dwellers, not reef-builders, on
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Cretaceous carbonate platforms. Palaeogeogr.
Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol., 118, 245267.
The authors would like to thank all of the vol- Hallsworth, C.R. and Knox, R.W.O.B. (1999) Classification of
Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks. British Geological
unteers who so kindly agreed to participate in Survey, Nottingham, 44 pp.
the survey. We thank Sedimentology reviewer Harrell, J. (1981) Measurement errors in the thin-section
Marco Brandano and two anonymous colleagues analysis of grain packing. J. Sed. Petrol., 51, 674676.
for their constructive comments. We also Harris, P.M., Purkis, S.J., Ellis, J., Swart, P.K. and
acknowledge Associate Editor Peir Pufahl and Reijmer, J.J.G. (2015) Mapping bathymetry and
depositional facies on Great Bahama Bank.
Chief Editor Tracy Frank for their guidance Sedimentology, 62, 566589.
through the editorial process. Imbrie, J. and Purdy, E.G.. (1962) Classification of modern
Bahamian carbonate sediments. In: Classification of
Carbonate Rocks A Symposium (Ed. W.E. Ham), Am.
REFERENCES Assoc. Petrol. Geol. Mem., 1, 253272.
Insalaco, E. (1998) The descriptive nomenclature and
classification of growth fabrics in fossil scleractinian reefs.
Bissell, H.J. and Chilingar, G.V. (1967) Chapter 4 classification
Sed. Geol., 118, 159186.
of sedimentary carbonate rocks. In: Developments in

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885
Petrographic description of carbonate facies 1885
Jerram, D.A. (2001) Visual comparators for degree of grain- Swart, G.P. Eberli, J.A. McKenzie, I. Jarvis and T. Stevens),
size sorting in two and three-dimensions. Comput. pp. 2946. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester.
Geosci., 27, 485492. Sadooni, F.N., Howari, F. and El-Saiy, A. (2010) Microbial
Kirkham, A. (2004) Patterned dolomites: microbial origins dolomites from carbonate-evaporite sediments of the
and clues to vanished evaporites in the Arab Formation, coastal sabkha of Abu Dhabi and their exploration
Upper Jurassic, Arabian Gulf. In: The Geometry and implications. J. Petrol. Geol, 33, 289298.
Petrogenesis of Dolomite Hydrocarbon Reservoirs (Eds Scholle, P.A. and Ulmer-Scholle, D.S. (2003) A Color Guide
C.J.R. Braithwaite, G. Rizzi and G. Darke), Geol. Soc. Spec. to Petrography of Carbonate Rocks: Garins, Textures,
Publ., 235, 301308. Porosity, Diagenesis. American Association of Petroleum
Krynine, P.D. (1948) The megascopic study and field Geologists, Tulsa, OK, 474 pp.
classification of sedimentary rocks. J. Geol., 56, 130165. Sibley, D.F. and Gregg, J.M. (1987) Classification of dolomite
Lambert, L., Durlet, C., Loreau, J.P. and Marnier, G. (2006) rock textures. J. Sed. Petrol., 57, 967975.
Burial dissolution of micrite in Middle East carbonate Stockman, K.W., Ginsburg, R.N. and Shinn, E.A. (1967) The
reservoirs (Jurassic-Cretaceous): keys for recognition and production of lime mud by algae in South Florida. J. Sed.
timing. Mar. Petrol. Geol., 23, 7992. Petrol., 37, 633648.
Leighton, M.W. and Pendexter, C. (1962) Carbonate rock Todd, T.W. (1966) Petrogenetic classification of carbonate
types. In: Classification of Carbonate Rocks - A rocks. J. Sed. Petrol., 36, 317340.
Symposium (Ed. W.E. Ham), AAPG Mem., 1, 3360. Tsien, H.H. (1982) Ancient reefs and reef carbonates. In:
Longiaru, S. (1987) Visual comparators for estimating the International Coral Reef Symposium (Eds C.E. Gomez,
degree of sorting from plane and thin section. J. Sed. R.W. Birkeland, R.E. Buddemeier, J.A. Johannes, J.
Petrol., 57, 791794. Marsh and R.T. Tsuda), Vol. 1, pp. 601609. Marine
Lowenstam, H.A. and Epstein, S. (1957) On the origin of Sciences Center, University of the Philippines, Manila,
sedimentary aragonite needles of the Great Bahama Bank. Philippines.
J. Geol., 65, 364375. Tucker, M.E. (2001) Sedimentary Petrology: An Introduction
Lucia, F.J. (2007) Carbonate Reservoir Characterization: An to the Origin of Sedimentary Rocks. Blackwell Science
Integrated Approach. Springer, Berlin, 336 pp. Ltd., Oxford, 260 pp.
Macintyre, I.G. (1985) Submarine cements the peloidal Tucker, M.E. and Wright, V.P. (1990) Carbonate
question. In: Carbonate Cements (Eds N. Schneidermann Sedimentology. Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford, 496 pp.
and P.M. Harris),SEPM Spec. Publ., 36, 109116. Wells, A.J. (1962) Recent dolomite in the Persian Gulf.
Matthews, R.K. (1966) Genesis of recent lime mud in Nature, 194, 274275.
southern British Honduras. J. Sed. Petrol., 36, 428454. Wilber, R.J., Milliman, J.D. and Halley, R.B. (1990)
Mount, J. (1985) Mixed siliciclastic and carbonate sediments: Accumulation of bank-top sediment on the western slope
a proposed first-order textural and compositional of Great Bahama Bank: rapid progradation of a carbonate
classification. Sedimentology, 32, 435442. megabank. Geology, 18, 970974.
Nelson, H.F., Brown, C.W. and Brineman, J.H. (1962) Wright, V.P. (1990) Syngenetic formation of grainstones and
Skeletal limestone classification. In: Classification of pisolites from fenestral carbonates in peritidal settings;
Carbonate Rocks A Symposium (Ed. W.E. Ham), Am. discussion. J. Sed. Petrol., 60, 309310.
Assoc. Petrol. Geol. Mem., 1, 224252. Wright, V.P. (1992) A revised classification of limestones.
Newell, N.D. (1955) Depositional fabric in Permian reef Sed. Geol., 76, 177185.
limestones. J. Geol., 63, 301309.
Perry, C.T. (1999) Biofilm-related calcification, sediment Manuscript received 10 March 2016; revision accepted
trapping and constructive micrite envelopes: a criterion 9 May 2016
for the recognition of ancient grass-bed environments?
Sedimentology, 46, 3345.
Randazzo, A.F. and Zachos, L.G. (1984) Classification and
description of dolomitic fabrics of rocks from the Floridan Supporting Information
aquifer, U.S.A. Sed. Geol., 37, 151162.
Reid, P.R., Macintyre, I.G. and James, N.P. (1990) Internal Additional Supporting Information may be found in
precipitation of microcrystalline carbonate: a the online version of this article:
fundamental problem for sedimentologists. Sed. Geol.,
68, 163170. Data S1. Thin section photomicrographs.
Reijmer, J.J.G., Swart, P.K., Bauch, T., Otto, R., Reuning, L., Data S2. Questionnaires used in Phase One and Phase
Roth, S. and Zechel, S. (2009) A re-evaluation of facies on Two of the study.
Great Bahama Bank I: new facies maps of Western Great Table S1. Phase One survey results.
Bahama Bank. In: Perspectives in Carbonate Geology: A Table S2. Phase Two survey results.
Tribute to the Career of Robert Nathan Ginsburg (Eds P.K.

2016 The Authors. Sedimentology 2016 International Association of Sedimentologists, Sedimentology, 63, 18431885