Ramp reef depositional facies model for the Mid-Pliocene Golden Gates Reef Member of the Tamiami Formation, South Florida

J. F. Meeder, J. S. Klaus, M. Grasmueck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The depositional setting for northern most Atlantic coral reef development during the Mid-Pliocene Warm Period is a gentle sloping mixed carbonate–siliciclastic ramp. Five core transects document the distribution of the reef complex in an area approximately 65 by 12 km, and nine repetitive depositional facies are identified. Paleoecological and sedimentological evidence documents facies development along a water depth–energy gradient. The mid-Pliocene Tamiami Formation is characterized by coral boundstone developed over level skeletal rudstone depositional units dominated by mollusks. Hyotissa haitensis (Sowerby), one of the last Gryphaeid oysters, is the dominant fossil found in the most continuous skeletal facies and overlies deeper water green clay facies, the only facies with pelagic foraminifera. Ground penetrating radar documents reef depositional topography, onlapping stratigraphy and two episodes of reef growth. Two cycles of deposition are recognized, separated by subaerial exposure. The coral boundstone and the skeletal rudstone exhibit both high primary and secondary porosity and overlie the impermeable clay facies. The upper surface of the coral boundstone lies at ~ 4 m in elevation whereas contemporaneous estuarine deposits are found to the north at elevations of 20–25 m. High porosity bank reef complexes along a shallow dipping ramp provide an alternative to the standard model of reef and porosity development along the outer shelf margin. Understanding the differences in associated facies between these two depositional environments permits better interpretation of observed heterogeneities in subsurface geobodies associated with inner shelf and platform settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Coral reef
  • Gryphaeidae
  • Mid-Pliocene Warm Period
  • Ramp model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Palaeontology


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