Platform margins have been targets for carbonate exploration because they are commonly seismically resolvable and reservoir prone for several critical reasons including karstic porosity. Platform margin karst models, mainly based on the Quaternary of the Caribbean (tropical humid, including “flank margin caves”) are well documented, but analogs remain rarely identified in the stratigraphic record. Analysis of a remarkably well-exposed macroporosity paleokarst system from the Paleocene of north Spain, formed under an arid to semiarid climate, provided a model that differs from the Caribbean template. Implications for exploration and appraisal strategies, include provisos regarding (1) how early fracture intensity can be estimated at platform margins, (2) the absence of flank margin caves at the margin, (3) the absence of karstic features at or immediately below the main lowstand surface, (4) the presence of cave-free corridors such that the porosity zones could be missed completely, and (5) the stratigraphic inheritance of caves into successive levels adjacent to the cave-free zones. Quantitative data were evaluated on the main macroporous intervals. We also compared this model with other paleokarst models in the literature to emphasize the diversity of approaches that can be used to evaluate paleokarst targets: “one size does not fit all.”
- Received November 5, 2013.
- Revision received February 24, 2014.
- Accepted April 6, 2014.