Holocene tropical reef accretion and lagoon sedimentation: A quantitative approach to the influence of sea‐level rise, climate and subsidence (Belize, Maldives, French Polynesia)

  • Accretion rates of Holocene tropical coral reefs in three areas in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans have been quantified in 79 dated core sections in 34 reef cores from Belize, the Maldives and French Polynesia. Holocene vertical reef accretion rate averages 5.05 m/kyr and has decreased during the past 10 kyr. Accretion rates in branched and massive coral facies are statistically similar. Reef accretion rate is positively correlated with the rate of sea‐level rise, that is the degree of creation of accommodation space, and with climate as expressed in a Holocene sea surface temperature anomaly. Accommodation space is also created by subsidence, but at a rate one to two orders of magnitude lower than that created by glacio‐eustasy (0.04 to 0.16 m/kyr). Lagoonal background sedimentation in adjacent reef lagoons averages 0.89 m/kyr as measured in 72 dated core sections in 28 cores. Lagoonal carbonate sedimentation on top of underlying mangrove peat usually starts after a considerable hiatus of ca 3 kyr on average. The lagoonal background sedimentation rate increased during the Holocene, probably due to deepening. The differences between vertical reef accretion and lagoonal background sedimentation rates are a major factor in the production of the widely known saucer shapes typical of tropical reefs and carbonate platforms, that is the creation of unfilled accommodation space. Reef core recovery, used as a proxy for reef consolidation, and core depth exhibit a statistically negative correlation based on data from 326 core barrels. Recovery and marine cement abundance (average volume 8.6%) also decrease from windward to leeward core positions. These observations are presumably a result of both a decrease in the rate of sea‐level rise that is the increase in time available for submarine cementation during the Holocene and the amount of flushing of reef interstices by marine waters.

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Author:Eberhard GischlerORCiD, J. Harold Hudson
Parent Title (German):The depositional record
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2019/02/15
Date of first Publication:2019/02/15
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/04/20
Page Number:25
First Page:515
Last Page:539
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0