Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


MYLROIE, John E. and MYLROIE, Joan R., Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5448,

The original definition of karst development in eogenetic rocks, as presented by H.L. Vacher and J.E. Mylroie in 2002 was “we use the term eogenetic karst for the land surface evolving on, and the pore system developing in, rocks undergoing eogenetic, meteoric diagenesis.” Since that time karst research has been extensively conducted on carbonate coasts and islands around the world. The majority of these locations are tropical to subtropical, as the carbonate rocks are still proximal to their environment of deposition. A decade later, our research has updated some facets of the original presentation.

The top of the fresh-water lens was originally presented as an speleogenetic environment as a result of vadose/phreatic fresh-water mixing, primarily based on banana hole development in the Bahamas. The geochemical evidence for dissolutional aggressivity at the top of the lens was equivocal, and banana holes have been reinterpreted as flank margin caves sequentially developing in a migrating lens margin hosted by a prograding strand plain. Despite both field and model evidence of large permeability increases in carbonate rocks throughout the fresh-water lens as touching-vug porosity, mega porosity is restricted to the lens margin in islands too small to develop conduit flow. In larger islands (and continental carbonate coasts such as the Yucatan), conduit cave and flank margin cave mega porosity co-exist as independent flow systems. Conduit flow systems are a major contributor to progradational collapse systems, which produce most subaerial caves on Bermuda and most blue holes in the Bahamas. Conduit/lens interactions remain a research frontier, especially where the conduit is perched on non-carbonates before reaching the lens.

The flank margin cave morphological pattern is the result of volumetric dissolution, hosted in eogenetic rocks by the high value (~30%) of primary porosity. In telogenetic rocks, where such 3-D dissolution occurs it is the result of the carbonate rock having conditions that mimic eogenetic rocks. In Croatia this mimicry is achieved by a paleotalus facies, in New Zealand by a high density fracture system produced by tectonics. The New Zealand example is instructive, as the telogenetic rocks involved there are Oligocene, in tectonically quiescent Florida the same age rocks are eogenetic.

  • EogeneticDecadePoster25Oct12.pdf (937.5 kB)