Bahamian carbonate platform development in response to sea-level changes and the closure of the Isthmus of Panama

John J. Reijmer, Christian Betzler, Dick Kroon, Ralf Tiedemann, Gregor P Eberli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we show that the development of the sediment architecture at the leeward toe-of-slope of Great Bahama Bank (Ocean Drilling Project Leg 166, Bahama Transect) during the last 6 Ma is not only a response to sea-level fluctuations, but also to major paleo-oceanographic and climatic changes. A major sequence boundary close to the Miocene/Pliocene boundary (dated at 5.6-5.4 Ma) is interpreted to reflect a major sea-level drop that was followed by a sea-level rise, which led to the re-flooding of the Mediterranean Sea at the end of the Messinian and increasing sea-surface temperatures at Great Bahama Bank. Distinct erosional horizons occurred during the Pliocene (dated at 4.6 and 3.3-3.6 Ma) related to sea-level change and the intensification of the Gulf Stream when the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama reached a critical threshold. The Gulf Stream brings warm, saline and nutrient-poor waters to the Bahamas. Starting at the Early-Late Pliocene boundary at 3.6 Ma this paleo-oceanographic reorganization in combination with enhanced sea-level fluctuations associated with the Late Pliocene main intensification in Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (since 3.2 Ma) led to (1) a gradual change from a ramp-type to a flat-topped type morphology, and (2) a change from a skeletal to a non-skeletal-dominated sedimentary system (mainly peloidal). Increased sea-level fluctuations during the second half of the Pleistocene led to an intensified high stand-shedding depositional pattern within the surrounding basins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-489
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume91
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Fingerprint

carbonate platform
sea level change
Pliocene
sea level
sequence boundary
Messinian
glaciation
Northern Hemisphere
sea surface temperature
transect
flooding
drilling
Miocene
Pleistocene
climate change
nutrient
ocean
basin
sediment
water

Keywords

  • Bahamas
  • Carbonate platform evolution
  • Miocene-Holocene
  • Paleo-oceanography
  • Sequence stratigraphy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Bahamian carbonate platform development in response to sea-level changes and the closure of the Isthmus of Panama. / Reijmer, John J.; Betzler, Christian; Kroon, Dick; Tiedemann, Ralf; Eberli, Gregor P.

In: International Journal of Earth Sciences, Vol. 91, No. 3, 2002, p. 482-489.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Reijmer, John J. ; Betzler, Christian ; Kroon, Dick ; Tiedemann, Ralf ; Eberli, Gregor P. / Bahamian carbonate platform development in response to sea-level changes and the closure of the Isthmus of Panama. In: International Journal of Earth Sciences. 2002 ; Vol. 91, No. 3. pp. 482-489.
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