Halimeda segments from carbonate sands on the Virgin Islands platform have delta 18 O versus PDB isotopic values ranging from -0.3% to -1.3% (x = -0.9%). Modern Halimeda segments from the same area have a measured delta 18 O ranging from -2.0% to -2.5% PDB (x = -2.15%), and the carbonate skeleton appears to have formed in isotopic equilibrium with the oceanic waters on the platform. Biologic and geochemical data indicate that the sand deposits have accumulated under physical and chemical conditions similar to the modern shelf environment. 14 C data suggest that the sand was deposited over an approximate 5800-year span, centering about 4000 years B.P. The average isotopic difference of 1.25% between the Holocene and modern carbonate indicates that the late Holocene Halimeda lived in waters approximately 4 degrees cooler than the present.--Modified journal abstract.

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