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Early studies stressed the high accretionary potential of Caribbean coral reefs (10-15 m/kyr). Cores from St. Croix (US Virgin Islands) suggested that the earliest reefs along the shelf edge were dominated by rapidly growing Acropora palmata. As the bank flooded, soil mobilized by wave action moved off the bank, killed these reefs, and prevented subsequent reef development for at least 2000 years. Because the shelf east of St. Croix is similar to many Caribbean sites, it was proposed that this model was widely applicable throughout the region.

More recent data from cores and outcrops throughout the Caribbean show that...

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