Although stratigraphers have long recognized that carbonate facies bodies are finite entities, characterizing their dimensions and interpreting the controlling parameters has remained a fundamental challenge. In this paper, Rankey described a quantitative analysis of spatial patterns of subfacies size, abundance, and distribution using remote sensing data from the carbonate tidal flats of Andros Island in the Bahamas. The results of the study revealed systematic trends in size-frequency distributions and of gaps between similar subfacies, patterns interpreted to represent power-law distributions. These results were interpreted to be “inconsistent with models suggesting that tidal flats include a migrating complex of randomly distributed, randomly sized subenvironments,” but instead that the tidal flats are shaped by feedbacks and self-organization.
Spatial Patterns of Sediment Accumulation on a Holocene Carbonate Tidal Flat, Northwest Andros Island, Bahamas by Eugene C. Rankey