Evidence for the episodic “turn on” and “turn off” of turbid-zone coral reefs during the late Holocene sea-level highstand

Perry, C.T., and Smithers, S.G. (2010) Evidence for the episodic “turn on” and “turn off” of turbid-zone coral reefs during the late Holocene sea-level highstand. Geology, 38 (2). pp. 119-122.

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Terrigenous sediment accumulation within nearshore marine environments is regarded as a major factor inhibiting carbonate production and coral reef accretion. While recent ecological and geological research into reef development under long-term terrigenous sediment influence questions the overly simplistic nature of such views, understanding of the time scales of reef initiation and growth and the morphodynamics of reef accretion in these settings remains limited. Here we present evidence to support recent suggestions that, once established, rapid reef accretion and progradation is possible, but that the restricted accommodation windows in which such reefs develop often result in short-lived (ephemeral) phases of reef building. Specifically, we describe two discrete periods of reef growth within one small (~600 m wide) coastal embayment around a high island on the terrigenous sediment–dominated inner shelf of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia. These reef-building phases occurred at either end of the Holocene sea-level highstand, the first during the late postglacial marine transgression and early highstand (~6900–4500 calibrated (cal) yr B.P.), the second following the late Holocene regression and stillstand (~1600 cal yr B.P. to present). An ~3000 yr hiatus occurred between these events, probably as a function of subtle changes in sea level and associated shoreline morphodynamics.

Item ID: 11893
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1943-2682
Keywords: Great Barrier Reef; holocene; reef; growth; climate change; sea level; sedimentation; geomorphology
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2010 03:19
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040305 Marine Geoscience @ 40%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040310 Sedimentology @ 30%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040699 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960502 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments @ 100%
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