Stromatolite framework builders: ecosystems in a Cryogenian interglacial reef

Corkeron, M.L., and Slezak, P.R. (2020) Stromatolite framework builders: ecosystems in a Cryogenian interglacial reef. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences.

[img] PDF (Accepted Publisher Version) - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


A convergence of climate, paleolatitude, basin evolution, water depth and seawater chemistry conditions, favourable for carbonate precipitation and preservation, facilitated initiation and sustained growth of the similar to 350 m-thick Arkaroola carbonate reef, part of the Balcanoona Formation, during the Cryogenian interglacial in South Australia's northern Flinders region. The reef is distinguished by its diverse stromatolitic framework; its internal architecture as exposed on the gorge walls of Kingsmill Creek, reveals spatial and temporal variability of the stromatolite assemblage. Growth of planar microbial biostromes initiated development of a stable carbonate substrate on underlying thick mudstone-to-sandstone. Once stabilised, a robust reef framework developed, first through vertical growth of large domical thrombolitic stromatolites forming stacked bioherms of metre-scale relief. Biological modification of the local environment through substrate stabilisation, wave-energy baffling and aggradationally driven shallowing then enabled an ecological succession of stromatolite forms from microbial biostrome colonisation through to a climax community of domal, columnar and branching stromatolites. The spatial and stratigraphic distribution of stromatolite forms along with allochthonous facies, including intraclastic, peloidal and oolitic grainstone and packstone, characterises development of a windward forereef, reef crest, reef flat and leeward back-reef lagoon. Variability of stromatolite forms across the reef structure indicates ecological adaptation of function and form to niche conditions. Microbial (stromatolite) growth in a range of forms overwhelmingly controlled carbonate production in the Arkaroola reef. The range of stromatolite forms and their facies distribution within the reef is consistent with biological control on ecosystem development and stabilisation analogous to those of Phanerozoic and modern reef ecosystems. The Arkaroola reef exhibits a comparable ecological succession within the evolutionary realm of cyanobacteria in the late Proterozoic. Furthermore, the Arkaroola reef records relative climatic and sea-level stability within the Cryogenian Period, notable for severe climatic upheaval.

Item ID: 62673
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-0952
Keywords: stromatolite, Cyrogenian reef, framework, microbial, northern Flinders Ranges, ecosystem, carbonate
Copyright Information: (C) Geological Society of Australia
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2020 07:31
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370506 Palaeontology (incl. palynology) @ 40%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370509 Sedimentology @ 40%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370510 Stratigraphy (incl. biostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy and basin analysis) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 20%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 40%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 40%
Downloads: Total: 2
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page