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Quantitative attributes of more than 3000 pre-Quaternary Phanerozoic reefs areevaluated numerically based on a comprehensive computer database. The complex reef ecosystem is subdivided into several components, which are analyzed separately at different stratigraphic resolutions (stages, supersequences). The evolution of geometrical, environmental, paleontological, and petrographical reef attributes is tested for systematic temporal trends and correlations, and potential controls on reef evolution are evaluated by comparing changes in reef parameters with changing earth system parameters such as paleoclimate, sea level, and chemical evolution of the oceans.

While there is no significant secular trend in the number of reef per unit time...

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