Abstract

During or immediately following the transit of Hurricane Andrew (August 23-24, 1992) across the northern part of the Great Bahama Bank, thin laminated beds of carbonate mud were deposited in high-energy subtidal channels (4 m depth) through the ooid shoals of south Cat Cay and Joulters Cays. During our reconnaissance seven weeks later, we observed lime-mud beds exposed in the troughs of submarine oolite dunes and ripples. The mud layers were underlain and locally covered by ooid sand. The mud beds were lenticular and up to 5 cm thick. Their bases cast the underlying rippled surface. The layers were composed of soft silt- and sand-sized pellets and peloids and in some areas contained freshly preserved Thalassia blades and other organic debris along planes of lamination. The beds had a gelatinous consistency and locally had been penetrated by burrowers and plants. Layers of lime mud had also settled on bioturbated, plant-stabilized flats and in lagoonal settings but were quickly reworked and made unrecognizable by the burrowing of organisms. Thicker, more cohesive (and therefore older) mud beds and angular mud fragments associated with ooids from Joulters Cays have similar characteristics but lack fresh plant fragments. We infer that these older beds were similarly deposited and thus record the passage of previous hurricanes or tropical storms. Storm layers are preserved within channel sediments because migrating ooids prevent attack by the burrowing activity off organisms.

You do not currently have access to this article.