Massive dolomitization of a Messinian reef in the Great Bahama Bank: A numerical modelling evaluation of Kohout geothermal convection

Emmanuel Caspard, J. L. Rudkiewicz, G. P. Eberli, E. Brosse, M. Renard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The hypothesis that Kohout thermal convection may have induced the massive dolomitization of the 60 m thick lowest more reefal unit in well Unda [top of Great Bahama Bank (GBB)] is evaluated through numerical modelling. A two-dimensional (2-D) section, including lithological and petrophysical data, together with datings for the sediments of the GBB, was used in the basin model TEMISPACK to reconstruct the history of the whole platform, with a focus on the reef unit. Simulations showed that during high sea-level periods, Kohout convection is a valid mechanism in the settings of the GBB, although the convection cell remains flat in most cases because of high permeability anisotropy. This mechanism induces rapid fluid flow in the superficial as well as in the deeper parts of the platform, with velocities of at least two orders of magnitude higher than with compaction alone. Lithology appears as a strong control of fluid circulations at the margin scale through the permeability anisotropy, for which a critical value lies between values of 10 and 100. The reefal unit in Unda is part of a larger area determined by the lithologic distribution, in which flow velocities are significantly higher than in the rest of the platform. These velocities are high enough to bring the magnesium necessary to precipitate the observed amounts of dolomite, within durations in agreement with the available time of post-reef deposition high sea level(s). However, neither fluid flow pattern nor flow velocities are able to explain the preferential massive dolomitization of the lower reef unit and the complete absence of dolomite in the upper one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-60
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Bahamas
  • Carbonate diagenesis
  • Dolomitization
  • Kohout thermal convection
  • Numerical modelling
  • Permeability anisotropy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Massive dolomitization of a Messinian reef in the Great Bahama Bank: A numerical modelling evaluation of Kohout geothermal convection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this