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Eolian Stratification and Beach-to-Dune Transition in a Holocene Carbonate Eolianite Complex, Isla CancÚN, Quintana Roo, Mexico

By
Robert G. Loucks
Robert G. Loucks
Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, University Station, Box X, Austin, Texas 78713-8924, U.S.A.
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William C. Ward
William C. Ward
University of New Orleans (Retired), New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. present address: 26328 Autumn Glenn, Boerne, Texas 78006-5200
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Published:
January 01, 2001

Abstract

A Holocene carbonate beach to eolian-dune sequence is a significant geomorphic feature along the Isla Cancun barrier island. The dunes are low, coalescing, parabolic dunes forming a ridge parallel to the present shoreline. The dunes comprise the “Bianca eolianite” and the slightly older “Cancun eolianite.” The Blanca eolianite is similar in age to the modern beach system. The more lithified Cancun eolianite, which forms excellent outcrop sections, contains three stratification types: 57% of the dune system is climbing translatent stratification, 36% is grainfall lamination, and 7% is sandflow cross-stratification. Biogenic structures in the Cancun and Blanca eolianites include animal burrows and rhizoliths.

The general lateral transition between the modern beach system and the adjacent Blanca eolian dune system appears to have a fair-weather equilibrium profile with no abrupt break between the back beach and toe of dune. The quantity of coarse shell material and animal burrows decreases significantly into the dunes, where eolian processes dominate over marine processes. Sediment sorting and plant-root traces increase dramatically in the area where eolian processes become dominant. During strong storms and hurricanes, marine processes may reach well into the eolian realm, removing the beach sediment in front of dune deposits and allowing the swash or surf to erode the dunes directly. During rare, exceptionally severe hurricanes, the dune complex can be truncated, as is evident in the Cancun eolianite. This interaction between marine and eolian processes forms a time-transient boundary (interfingering) in the beach-dune systems. Marine-produced features that punctuate eolian deposits are: (1) dune-front conglomerates produced during dune-front erosion and (2) intradune marine storm deposits laid down during dune truncation.

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SEPM Special Publication

Modern and Ancient Carbonate Eolianites: Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy, and Diagenesis

F. E. (Rick) Abegg
F. E. (Rick) Abegg
Chevron USA Production Company, 935 Gravier St., New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, U.S.A.
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David B. Loope
David B. Loope
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588, U.S.A.
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Paul M. (Mitch) Harris
Paul M. (Mitch) Harris
Chevron Petroleum Technology Company, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
71
ISBN electronic:
9781565761933
Publication date:
January 01, 2001

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