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New data on the Holocene stratigraphy of Lee Stocking Island (Bahamas) and its relation to sea-level history

ContributorsKindler, Pascal
Published inSpecial paper - Geological Society of America, vol. 300, p. 105-116
Publication date1995
Abstract

The Holocene deposits exposed on Lee Stocking and other Bahamian islands display a record of two distinctive units that contrasts strongly with the gradual rise of sea level expressed on most regional eustatic curves. This chapter reviews the field criteria for separating the Holocene and Pleistocene units in the Bahamas, presents the results of a detailed sedimentologic and petrographic study of the Holocene succession on Lee Stocking, and proposes a five-phase model that reconciles the observed pattern of episodic sedimentation with the continuous trend of sea-level rise. The Holocene deposits of Lee Stocking include two newly named lithostratigraphic units: the Dune Pass Bay oolite, a 5,000-yr-old eolianite formed when sea level was lower than today, and the Perry Peak limestone, a younger bioclastic calcarenite deposited in beach and eolian settings when sea level was close to its present position. These units are similar to coeval deposits previously described on San Salvador and are also found on Cat and Eleuthera. On Lee Stocking, the two Holocene units appear in vertical succession and are separated by a pronounced discontinuity. However, regional sea-level curves do not show a major fall that could explain this sedimentation break. The five-phase model presented in this chapter suggests that changes in the rate of sea-level rise ultimately controlled sedimentation during the middle and late Holocene in the Bahamas. The early flooding history of the platform was characterized by shallow waters that favored production and accumulation of ooids on the bank margins. Due to the rapid rate of sea-level rise during the mid-Holocene, ooid production ceased and the newly formed coastal deposits were subjected to erosion or pedogenesis. When the transgression slowed down about 3,800 yr age, reefs began to catch up with sea level and generate bioclasts that created new shoreline features bankward of the first deposits. Today, reefs have caught up with sea level, reducing the energy from open ocean waters. Sedimentation on most Bahamian islands has again decreased, as shown by the absence of high unvegetated dunes. This example from the Bahamas shows that discontinuities within carbonate sequences must not always be interpreted in terms of relative sea-level fall but can also result from changes in the rate of a transgression.

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Citation (ISO format)
KINDLER, Pascal. New data on the Holocene stratigraphy of Lee Stocking Island (Bahamas) and its relation to sea-level history. In: Special paper - Geological Society of America, 1995, vol. 300, p. 105–116. doi: 10.1130/0-8137-2300-0.105
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ISSN of the journal0072-1077
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