Abstract

The post-Miocene diagenetic and eustatic history of Enewetak Atoll was investigated using a one-dimensional forward model. Comparison of model and data suggests that the post-Miocene history of Enewetak Atoll was dominated by multiple episodes of meteoric phreatic diagenesis attendant with high-frequency (104 to 105 yr) fluctuations in sea level and a subsidence rate of 39.0 m/m.y. Sensitivity testing indicates that subaerial erosion results in the preservation of additional subaerial unconformities because stratigraphic shortening permits a succeeding sea-level rise to flood the exposure surface and deposit sediment, whereas without subaerial erosion this sea-level rise would be recorded as a paleophreatic lens. Model results indicate that less than 10% of lapsed time is recorded by sediment deposition during periods of high-frequency changes in sea level. Incompleteness of the stratigraphic record suggests that magnetostratigraphy may give erroneous ages for shallow-marine carbonate sequences deposited during times of high-frequency changes in sea level and frequent magnetic polarity reversals.

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