Geology 103 (Sedimentology and Stratigraphy)


California State University, Sacramento


Week 14:

Carbonate shelf systems, Modern reefs



Upon completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • Describe the physical and oceanographic conditions that favor reef formation.
  • Discuss the five main types of carbonate shelves, and give examples of each: rimmed shelf, unrimmed platform, carbonate ramp, isolated platform, epeiric platform.
  • Identify the energy levels, facies, and rock or sediment types. that are present in the outer shelf, middle shelf and inner shelf of a carbonate shelf that is protected from wave action.
  • Be familiar with the formation and occurrence of a barrier reef, fringing reef, atoll, patch reef and deep water or cold water reef.
  • Discuss the difference between a framework reef, a bioherm and a carbonate buildup
  • .
  • Evaluate the physical factors that affect modern reefs
  • Comment on the future of carbonate reefs on planet Earth


Reading Assignments:

Lecture 23: Carbonate shelves, reef environments- Boggs, 5th edition, pp. 308-327


Video worksheet


Silent sentinels worksheet


Please fill out a reading log for this week.  Reading logs are due at the start of class on Wednesday.


Reading log


Class notes:

Lecture 23 notes



Graphics from lectures:

Lecture 23 graphics


Lab this week-


Petrography of carbonate rocks:


This week we will look at carbonate rocks in thin section.  I will pass out a copy of the lab.  If you need another copy you can click here:


Carbonate petrography p. 1


Carbonate petrography p. 2


Due date:  start of lab, next week.