Modern marine stromatolites in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas

Uncommonly common

Pamela R Reid, Ian G. Macintyre, Kathleen M. Browne, Robert S. Steneck, Timothy Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Modern stromatolites in open marine environments, unknown until recently, are common throughout the Exuma Cays, Bahamas. They occur in three distinct settings: subtidal tidal passes, subtidal sandy embayments and intertidal beaches. These stromatolites have a relief of up to 2.5 m and occur in water depths ranging from intertidal to 10 m. Surfaces near the sediment-water interface are typically colonized by cyanobacterial mats, whereas high relief surfaces are commonly colonized by algal turf and other macroalgae such as Batophora, Acetabularia, and Sargassum. The internal structure of the stromatolites is characterized by millimeter-scale lamination defined by differential lithification of agglutinated sediment. In thin section, the lithified laminae appear as micritic horizons with distinct microstructures: they consist of thin micritic crusts (20-40 μm thick) overlying layers of micritized sediment grains (200-1000 μm thick); the micritized grains are cemented at point-contacts and are trucated along a surface of intense microboring. The Exuma stromatolites are built by cyanobacterial-dominated communities. These laminated prokaryotic structures grade to unlayered thrombolites built by eukaryotic algae. The variety of sites, settings and shapes of stromatolites in the Exuma Cays present excellent opportunities for future studies of stromatolite morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalFacies
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1995

Fingerprint

relief
stromatolite
lithification
morphogenesis
lamination
sediment-water interface
thin section
sediment
marine environment
microstructure
water depth
beach
alga
crust

Keywords

  • Bahamas
  • Holocene or Recent
  • Stromatolite
  • Thrombolite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Stratigraphy
  • Palaeontology
  • Geology

Cite this

Reid, P. R., Macintyre, I. G., Browne, K. M., Steneck, R. S., & Miller, T. (1995). Modern marine stromatolites in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas: Uncommonly common. Facies, 33(1), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02537442

Modern marine stromatolites in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas : Uncommonly common. / Reid, Pamela R; Macintyre, Ian G.; Browne, Kathleen M.; Steneck, Robert S.; Miller, Timothy.

In: Facies, Vol. 33, No. 1, 12.1995, p. 1-17.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Reid, PR, Macintyre, IG, Browne, KM, Steneck, RS & Miller, T 1995, 'Modern marine stromatolites in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas: Uncommonly common', Facies, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02537442
Reid, Pamela R ; Macintyre, Ian G. ; Browne, Kathleen M. ; Steneck, Robert S. ; Miller, Timothy. / Modern marine stromatolites in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas : Uncommonly common. In: Facies. 1995 ; Vol. 33, No. 1. pp. 1-17.
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