Packstones and floatstones: Ambiguous textures and origins in need of critical appraisal

Mohammad Alsuwaidi, Sadoon Morad, Howri Mansurbeg, Hind Sulieman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The depositional textural classification of allochthonous limestones by Dunham (1962) and its modifications by Embry III and Klovan (1971) are widely used by carbonate petrologists during petrographic, field studies and core examinations. The origin and textures of packstones and floatstones used in this classification scheme need re-appraisal towards their unified and unequivocal usage by carbonate petrologists in academia and the petroleum industry. Such usage will help avoiding inadequate interpretations of the depositional, sequence stratigraphic or reservoir-quality distribution models. Based on examination of Jurassic, Cretaceous and Holocene carbonate deposits from United Arab Emirates and Oman, it is suggested here that packstones should not be used to interpret energy of depositional environments because the majority are originally deposited as grainstones (i.e. free of mud matrix). Thus, sand and mud sized particles are expected to be hydraulically separated, i.e. not deposited simultaneously. Therefore, packstones might be originally grainstones that have incorporated variable amounts of mud matrix by various post-depositional processes, primarily bioturbation and/or compaction deformation of peloids (known as pseudomatrix; Dickinson, 1970). We further observed that the >2 mm allochems in floatstones float in grainstones and packstones and not in mud/wackestone matrix.

Original languageBritish English
Article number104425
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Dunham/Embry III and Klovan classification
  • Floatstones
  • Limestone textures
  • Packstones


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