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Profiles of ocean island coral reefs controlled by sea-level history and carbonate accumulation rates

Michael Toomey, Andrew D. Ashton and J. Taylor Perron
Profiles of ocean island coral reefs controlled by sea-level history and carbonate accumulation rates
Geology (Boulder) (May 2013) 41 (7): 731-734

Abstract

Modern and preserved coral reefs on islands exhibit a broad range of forms, from actively accreting fringing and barrier reefs to terraces preserved by drowning or subaerial exposure. Darwin's canonical model of reef development proposes an evolutionary sequence of reef forms as a volcanic island ages and subsides, from fringing reef to lagoon-bounding barrier reef to atoll. Compiled data from modern systems show, however, that many islands do not follow this sequence, implying that reefs are shaped by more than island subsidence alone. We show that the diversity of modern reef morphology arises from the combined effects of island subsidence, coral growth, and glacial sea-level cycles. A model for the evolution of a reef elevation profile over the past 400 k.y. reveals that different combinations of reef accretion rate and island vertical motion produce a variety of forms that matches the observed distribution of modern reefs. This match occurs only if the model is driven by Pleistocene sea-level oscillations--few modern environments have the right combination of conditions to produce the Darwinian atoll progression.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 41
Serial Issue: 7
Title: Profiles of ocean island coral reefs controlled by sea-level history and carbonate accumulation rates
Affiliation: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Geology and Geophysics Department, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Pages: 731-734
Published: 20130509
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 23
Accession Number: 2013-043469
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2013204
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch maps
N19°00'00" - N28°30'00", W179°00'00" - W155°00'00"
S19°00'00" - S15°00'00", W155°00'00" - W147°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201327
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