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Sea-level and climate events during the past 30 million years: the record from fossil reefs, coastal deposits and dolostones from Mayaguana, Great Inagua, Crooked and Acklins Islands, SE Bahamas

English title Sea-level and climate events during the past 30 million years: the record from fossil reefs, coastal deposits and dolostones from Mayaguana, Great Inagua, Crooked and Acklins Islands, SE Bahamas
Applicant Kindler Pascal
Number 140420
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Département des sciences de la Terre Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.06.2012 - 31.03.2017
Approved amount 381'858.00
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All Disciplines (6)

Discipline
Geology
Mineralogy
Palaeontology
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences
Geochemistry
Geochronology

Keywords (11)

paleoclimatology; Bahamas; isotope chemistry; physical stratigraphy; dolomitization; sedimentary petrography; coral reefs; radiometric dating; late Cenozoic; sea-level changes; sedimentology

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Fossil reefs, coastal deposits (i.e. ancient beaches and coastal dunes) contain direct information on sea-level and climate fluctuations during the Late Cenozoic that supplement data derived from the study of deep-sea sediments and ice cores. Such knowledge is critical to decipher the mechanisms of sea-level and climate variations, and better constrain future global changes. These deposits may all undergo phases of dolomitization, whereby limestone is transformed into dolostone, a Mg-rich carbonate. This is interesting per se (e.g. because dolomitization changes the reservoir properties of parent rocks), but also because the process of dolomitization is constrained by the degree of carbonate-platform flooding and can be dated. Dolostones may thus provide also information regarding ancient climate and sea-level fluctuations.

Fossil reefs and coastal deposits have been already studied in details in Bermuda, Barbados, Florida, and in the northern Bahamas. The basic framework of Middle/Late Quaternary sea-level and climate changes in these areas is rather well established, but many uncertainties still remain regarding earlier time periods. By contrast, the southeastern Bahamas have not been much studied in this respect, possibly because of their relative inaccessibility. We have started to bridge this gap 5 years ago by undertaking detailed stratigraphic, sedimentological and geochemical analyses of the coastal sediments and reefal terraces exposed on the island of Mayaguana, where we discovered peritidal deposits of Early Pleistocene, Pliocene, Late Miocene and Early Miocene age that had never been observed on any other Bahamian islands. At the end of this preceding research, an industrial group undertook a coring campaign on Mayaguana to look for construction material. We will be allowed to examine and sample their cores and, in addition, they agreed to drill three scientific cores for us on the north coast of the island, where the old rocks are exposed. We further intend to explore two geologically unknown islands in the area (Crooked and Acklins) where such old rocks might also be represented. These investigations will contribute to broaden our knowledge on the stratigraphic record of the SE Bahamas during the Neogene and on the regional climatic/oceanographic/tectonic changes during this time period. In addition, this study will enable us to complement existing knowledge on coastal sedimentation and dolomitization processes. This first topic is becoming a key scientific and political issue in the current context of anthropogenic global warming and sea-level rise; the second one pertains to rock reservoir properties, which is fundamental for oil exploration and CO2 storage.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Biostratigraphic and geochemical evidence for a tectonically induced change in the aggradation rate of the Mayaguana Bank (SE Bahamas) during the Early Miocene
Fischer Gyongyver, Godefroid Fabienne, Kindler Pascal, Baldessin Erika (2016), Biostratigraphic and geochemical evidence for a tectonically induced change in the aggradation rate of the Mayaguana Bank (SE Bahamas) during the Early Miocene, in Proceedings of the 16th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and other carbonate regions, 1-12.
Miogypsinids (larger benthic foraminifers) from the Mayaguana Formation (Early Miocene), Mayaguana Island, Bahamas
Godefroid Fabienne (2016), Miogypsinids (larger benthic foraminifers) from the Mayaguana Formation (Early Miocene), Mayaguana Island, Bahamas, in Proceedings of the 16th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and other carbonate regions, 13-25.
Prominent geological features of Crooked Island, SE Bahamas.
Godefroid Fabienne, Kindler Pascal (2016), Prominent geological features of Crooked Island, SE Bahamas., in Proceedings of the 16th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and other carbonate regions, 26-38.
Speculations on superstorms – Interactive comment on “Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming is h
Engel Max, Kindler Pascal, Godefroid Fabienne (2015), Speculations on superstorms – Interactive comment on “Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming is h, in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, v 15, C6270-C6281.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Torsten Venneman, UNIL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. D.S. Kaufman, Northern Arizona University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Jim Klaus, University of Miami United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Sidonie Revillon, Sedisor France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. H.G. Machel, University of Alberta Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Dr. Marcelle BouDagher-Fadel , University College London Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Richard Cant, Consultant, Nassau Bahamas (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Peter Swart, Univ. Miami United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
14th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference New constraints on the timing of dolomitization episodes in the Bahamas during the Neogene: the strontium isotope data from Mayaguana, SE Bahamas. 18.11.2016 Genève, Switzerland Kindler Pascal; Baldessin Erika;
14th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Elevated coralgal bioherms from Long Island (Bahamas): a testimony of recent tectonic uplift or of a high sea level during Marine Isotope Stage 7 17.11.2016 Genève, Switzerland Kindler Pascal;
24th SwissSed Meeting Poster Pleistocene shallowing-upward sequences in Dean’s Blue Hole, Long Island (Bahamas): evidence of differential subsidence or faulting along the SE margin of Great Bahama Bank 27.02.2016 Fribourg, Switzerland Kindler Pascal;
15th Bathurst Meeting of Carbonate Sedimentologists Poster Multiphase karst filling: a case study from the Little Bay core, Mayaguana Island (SE Bahamas) 13.07.2015 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Kindler Pascal; Baldessin Erika;
15th Bathurst Meeting of Carbonate Sedimentologists Talk given at a conference Elevated bioherms from Long Island (Bahamas): a testimony of recent tectonic uplift or of a high sea level during the Middle Pleistocene 13.07.2015 Edingurgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Baldessin Erika; Kindler Pascal;
23rd SwissSed Meeting Poster Geochemical and petrographic evidence for multi-phase dolomitization of the Timber Bay Formation, Pliocene, Mayaguana, SE Bahamas. 28.02.2015 Fribourg, Switzerland Baldessin Erika; Kindler Pascal;
19th International Sedimentological Congress Talk given at a conference Presence of ankerite in the Timber Bay Formation (Pliocene, Mayaguana, Bahamas): witness of specific condition during the dolomitization process? 18.08.2014 Genève, Switzerland Baldessin Erika; Kindler Pascal;
19th International Sedimentological Congress Talk given at a conference Quaternary evolution of the Mayaguana Bank (SE Bahamas) from skeletal to non-skeletal carbonates. How old is the Lucayan Limestone? 18.08.2014 Genève, Switzerland Kindler Pascal;
22nd SwissSed Meeting Poster The dolomitic Timber Bay Formation (Pliocene, Mayaguana, Bahamas): a lateral equivalent of the Hope Gate Formation (Jamaica)? 22.02.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Baldessin Erika; Kindler Pascal;
11th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Upper Cenozoic dolostones from the Mayaguana Bank, SE Bahamas; new insights from a core study 11.11.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Baldessin Erika; Kindler Pascal;
14eme congrès de sédimentologie Talk given at a conference Changement du taux d’aggradation d’une plate-forme carbonatée lié a la tectonique? le cas de Mayaguana (SE des Bahamas) au cours du Miocène inférieur 05.11.2013 Paris, France Kindler Pascal; Baldessin Erika;
14eme congrès de sédimentologie Poster Dolomies cénozoiques de l’île de Mayaguana, SE Bahamas : nouvelles observations et perspectives à partir de l’étude d’une carotte. 05.11.2013 Paris, France Baldessin Erika; Kindler Pascal;
14eme congrès de sédimentologie Talk given at a conference Etude de la subsurface de l’île de Mayaguana (Sud-Est des Bahamas) du Paléogène-Néogène au Pléistocène Supérieur. 05.11.2013 Paris, France Kindler Pascal;
Geological Society of America Regional Meeting Talk given at a conference Extreme interglacials during the Early Pleistocene and the Pliocene recorded in shallow-water carbonates: Mayaguana Island, SE Bahamas 17.03.2013 San Juan, Puerto Rico Kindler Pascal;
Geological Society of America Regional Meeting Talk given at a conference Marine isotope stage 5e: a normal or an extreme interglacial? New sedimentological evidence from shallow-water carbonates from the SE Bahamas 17.03.2013 San Juan, Puerto Rico Kindler Pascal;
21th SwissSed Meeting Poster Trace-element evidence for evaporative dolomitization of Late Cenozoic limestone on Mayaguana Island, SE Bahamas. 23.02.2013 Fribourg, Switzerland Baldessin Erika; Kindler Pascal;
Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference The Upper Cenozoic stratigraphic record from Mayaguana Island, SE Bahamas : a product of tectonic action, episodic flooding, and antecedent topography 04.11.2012 Charlotte, United States of America Kindler Pascal;
Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Geological evidence for a higher than present sea level during the middle Holocene from NW Point, Mayaguana, SE Bahamas 04.11.2012 Charlotte, United States of America Kindler Pascal;
34th International Geological Congress Talk given at a conference A +11 m Late Pleistocene sea-level highstand recorded in fossil coral reefs and coastal deposits from Mayaguana, Great Inagua, and Crooked Islands, SE Bahamas 05.08.2012 Brisbane, Australia Kindler Pascal;
16th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas Poster Origin of the changing aggradation rate of the Mayaguana bank (SE Bahamas) in the Miocene: regional tectonics or long-term sea-level fall? 17.06.2012 San Salvador, Bahamas Kindler Pascal;
16th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas (San Salvador, Bahamas) Talk given at a conference Prominent geological features of Crooked Island SE Bahamas 14.06.2012 San Salvador, Bahamas Kindler Pascal;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124608 Sea-level and climate events during the past 5 million years: the record from fossil reefs, coastal deposits and dolostones from Mayaguana and Little Inagua Islands, SE Bahamas 01.04.2009 Project funding
144974 Acquisition of QEMSCAN Automated High-Resolution Mineral and Petrographic Analysis. 01.12.2012 R'EQUIP

Abstract

Fossil reefs and coastal deposits (i.e. ancient beaches, eolianites) contain direct information on sea-level and climate fluctuations during the Late Cenozoic that supplement data derived from the study of deep-sea sediments and ice cores. Such knowledge is critical to decipher the mechanisms of sea-level and climate variations, and better constrain future global changes. Fossil reefs are precise indicators of former sea stands and can be accurately dated with the U-series method. The sedimentological and petrographic characteristics of ancient coastal deposits register high-frequency sea-level and water-table changes, as well as climatic conditions during early diagenesis. These deposits may all undergo phases of dolomitization. This is interesting per se (e.g. because dolomitization changes the reservoir properties of parent rocks), but also because the process of dolomitization is constrained by the degree of carbonate-platform flooding and can be dated. Dolostones may thus provide also information regarding ancient climate and sea-level fluctuations.Fossil reefs and coastal deposits have been already studied in details in Bermuda, Barbados, Florida, and the northern Bahamas. The basic framework of Middle/Late Quaternary sea-level and climate changes in these areas is rather well established, but many uncertainties still remain regarding earlier time periods. By contrast, the southeastern Bahamas have not been much studied in this respect, possibly because of their relative inaccessibility. We have started to bridge this gap by undertaking detailed stratigraphic, sedimentological and geochemical analyses of the coastal sediments and reefal terraces exposed in this region. During our previous expeditions to the island of Mayaguana, we discovered peritidal deposits of Early Pleistocene, Pliocene, Late Miocene and Early Miocene age that had never been observed on any other Bahamian islands. We now intend to explore two geologically unknown islands (Crooked and Acklins) where such old rocks might also be represented, and to take advantage of industrial drilling investigations that will take place on Mayaguana and Great Inagua to expand our knowledge on the Neogene stratigraphic record of the southeastern Bahamas. In addition to refining our understanding on the timing of key sea-level and climate events during the Late Cenozoic, a critical piece of information for better resolving the history of ice ages, this study will enable us to complement existing knowledge on coastal sedimentation and dolomitization processes. This first topic is becoming a key scientific and political issue in the current context of anthropogenic global warming and sea-level rise; the second one pertains to rock reservoir properties, which is fundamental for oil exploration and CO2 storage.
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