Similar to barrier island-lagoon complexes, but may contain carbonate muds, smaller salt marshes, evaporites common above tidal flats. Often (but not exclusively) found with reef-lagoon complexes. Tidal flats may contain stromatolites.
As barrier island complexes, but instead of barrier island have some sort of
carbonate reef. Form in warmer environments. Lagoon and sometimes shore dominated by carbonate muds.
Regardless of organism that makes reef, structure tends to be the same:
Talus: broken reef rock on seaward side
Front reef: durable structures
Reef flat: grows to almost low sea level (within a meter or so)
Back reef: often with more ornate structures
Patch reefs: grow in lagoon
Coastlines are ephemeral: they move towards the ocean basin or towards the continent due to a number of factors:
Tectonic uplift or down-dropping of the region
Isostatic uplift (i.e., rebound) of the region
Eustatic (worldwide) changes in sealevel (due to glaciers or mid-ocean ridge activity)
All these produce one of two net effects:
Transgression: the landward migration of the shoreline (i.e., flooding of once-dry land)
Regression: the oceanward migration of the shoreline (i.e., draining of flooded land)
During a transgression the sequence of rocks will show an onlap sequence (the facies will become deeper-water environments as you move up through the sediments).
During a regression the sequence of rocks will show an offlap sequence (the facies will become shallower environments as you move up through the sediments).
Most of the planet's surface is underwater. In fact, the present has one of the lowest sea levels of Earth History (lowest of all seems to be recent interglacials). In other words, we are in an oceanic lowstand and the continents are mostly emergent. During other time periods, seawater covers most of the shallow parts of the continents: an oceanic highstand when the continents are submerged. Seas that cover continental rock are called epicontinental or epeiric seas.
Deep ocean basins are almost never preserved in the rock record (and when they are they are pinched out and metamorphosed during continental collisions). However, some relatively deep continental seas are preserved, and VAST amounts of sediment from epeiric marine rocks are known.
On the continent, or along continental shelves: Siliciclastic Shelf Environments:
Can vary greatly: claystones, siltstones, sandstones.
Animal burrows VERY common, as are animal body fossils.
Carbonate Banks & Platforms:
Today relatively rare, but once covered VAST areas.
Generally only form in warmer waters (think "Bahamas" or "Caribbean")
As carbonate sediment accumulates, it builds upwards to stand higher than surrounding shelf.
Often surrounded by barrier or fringing reefs.
Shallow water typically has ooids (abiotic) and pelloids (biotic).
Produce limestones of various subtypes.
Continental Slope Environments:
Dominated by mudstones.
Characteristic pulses of turbidity currents (submarine avalanches), which produce graded beds that fine upwards (coarser greywacke sandstones with scour marks/sole marks on bottom, fining upwards to laminated or bioturbated muds).
If these are preserved as rock, become turbidites. Often found with many turbidites stacked on top of each other.
Some terrigenous sediments along edges, and deep-sea clay (fine grain fraction from continents that make it out to deep sea) at centers of basin.
Also organic oozes (carbonate or siliceous). Calcareous oozes only down to ~4000 m, below which calcite dissolves due to particular pressure/temperature conditions.
Where glaciers have spread out, often find dropstones and other glacially transported sediments.
Pelagic sedimentary environments known mostly through deep-sea drilling, and are only rarely part of terrestrial rock record.