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Stromatolite provinces of Hamelin Pool; physiographic controls on stromatolites and associated lithofacies

Erica P. Suosaari, R. Pamela Reid, Amanda M. Oehlert, Phillip E. Playford, Carl K. Steffensen, Miriam S. Andres, Gregory V. Suosaari, Gary R. Milano and Gregor P. Eberli
Stromatolite provinces of Hamelin Pool; physiographic controls on stromatolites and associated lithofacies
Journal of Sedimentary Research (March 2019) 89 (3): 207-226


Recent studies recognized distinct stromatolite provinces in Hamelin Pool, Western Australia, each with morphologically distinct stromatolite structures paired with characteristic shelf physiography. In the present paper, we couple detailed lithofacies mapping with Hamelin Pool bathymetry and consider physiography as a control of sedimentation processes, including stromatolite development. Bathymetric transects, derived from a high-resolution bathymetry map with depths from 0 to 11 meters, allow calculation of slope gradients in the provinces. As in other settings, bathymetry is linked to energy regimes, which in turn appear to be coupled with variations in stromatolite morphologies and associated lithofacies as follows: (1) low-gradient ramps with low-energy settings are associated with sheet mats and elongate-clustered stromatolites that exhibit regular spatial patterns, possibly indicative of self-organization; (2) low gradients coupled with high-energy settings resulting from strong winds result in seif stromatolites with pronounced directional bands; (3) medium to steep gradients coupled with medium to high energy are associated with individual and merged stromatolites, often with thin basal necks; (4) headlands and promontories where the topography deflects currents are associated with elongate-nested stromatolites; and (5) medium- to high-energy slopes typically found at promontory edges and shelf margins are dominated by blocky pavement. Observations linking stromatolite morphology to physiography in a modern microbial system provide insight into the long-lived debate about biology versus environment in controlling stromatolite morphology. When physiography leads to a high-energy regime, environmental controls are the main factor determining stromatolite morphology. In contrast, when physiography promotes a low-energy environment, the response of biological communities becomes the main driver of macroscale stromatolite morphology.

ISSN: 1527-1404
EISSN: 1938-3681
Serial Title: Journal of Sedimentary Research
Serial Volume: 89
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Stromatolite provinces of Hamelin Pool; physiographic controls on stromatolites and associated lithofacies
Affiliation: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, United States
Pages: 207-226
Published: 201903
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 68
Accession Number: 2019-029449
Categories: Sedimentary petrology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. block diags., sketch map
S25°30'00" - S25°30'00", E113°30'00" - E113°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, USA, United StatesGeological Survey of Western Australia, AUS, AustraliaViking Geosolutions, USA, United StatesJames Cook University, AUS, Australia
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201916
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