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Abstract

Carbonate platforms and reefs emerge, grow, and die in response to intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms forced primarily by tectonics, oceanography, climate, ecology, and eustasy. These mechanisms, or controls, create the physical, biological, and chemical signals accountable for the myriad of carbonate depositional responses that, together, form the complex depositional systems present in modern and ancient settings. If we are to fully comprehend these systems, it is critical to ascertain which controls ultimately govern the “life cycle” of carbonate platforms and reefs and understand how these signals are recorded and preserved. Deciphering which signals produce a dominant sedimen– tological response from the plethora of physical and biological information generated from superimposed regional to global–scale controls is critical to achieving this goal. With this understanding, it may be possible to extract common time–and space–independent depositional responses to specific mechanisms that may, ultimately, be used in a predictive sense.

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