The great American carbonate bank (GACB) refers to a system of carbonates and related siliciclastics that were deposited on and around the Laurentian continent during the Cambrian, Early Ordovician, and earliest Middle Ordovician. This laterally continuous and diverse sequence has been assigned different sets of formation and group names across the GACB, such as Arbuckle, Beekmantown, Bonanza King, Deadwood, Ellenburger, El Paso, Knox, Prairie du Chien, and Potsdam (to name just a few of the more widely used), but characteristic lithofacies and fauna that are found throughout North America, Greenland, northwestern Scotland, Svalbard, and the pre-Cordillera of Argentina are observed.
Fundamental to our understanding of the components of the GACB is the biostratigraphy that ties the disparate parts into a cohesive whole. The importance of biostratigraphy was recognized early on by Jim Wilson, and he worked to integrate it with lithostratigraphy, sedimentology, biofacies, cyclic sedimentation, and sequence stratigraphy.
GACB reservoirs in the United States and Canada have produced from more than 28,000 oil and gas wells in approximately 3650 fields. These fields are distributed across 30 producing regions, with heavy concentration of production centered in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. In addition to being rich with petroleum products and economic minerals, the GACB also has value for water use and injection and is used for road material in many areas of North America.
The 48 contributions in this Memoir are divided into two parts: 1) summary chapters and 2) geographic papers.
The eight summary chapters are intended to review key components of the GACB: paleogeography, biostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, paleocave systems, ichnology, and natural resources, including both petroleum and metallic ore deposits.
The remaining 40 papers are composed of the various geographic studies of the GACB, and include articles focused on central Texas, central and western Pennsylvania, Arctic islands of Canada, and Scotland, among many others.