Morphology and sedimentology of Halimeda bioherms from the eastern Java Sea (Indonesia)
- Cite this article as:
- Roberts, H.H., Aharon, P. & Phipps, C.V. Coral Reefs (1988) 6: 161. doi:10.1007/BF00302012
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Halimeda bioherms, occurring primarily along the western and southern margins of Kalukalukuang Bank in the eastern Java Sea, display a wide variety of thicknesses and shapes. In general, high-frequency forms of the northern bank are replaced by thicker and lower frequency forms along the deeper southern margin. Sidescan sonar data suggest aperiodic reworking of shallow bioherm crests of the northern bank into features suggestive of bedforms. These features are not associated with deeper bioherms of the southern bank. Cores from the bioherms indicate that they consist mostly of disarticulated Halimeda plates set in a lime mud matrix composed largely of Halimeda fragments and foraminifera tests. Carbon-14 dating shows that, with exception of some deep southern bank examples, bioherms are actively accreting. Results of mineralogy and elemental chemistry on piston core PC-12 suggest cyclic variations in Mg-calcite (cement in Halimeda utricles), which may be related to periodic excursions of cold Pacific throughflow water onto the bank. Composition of the Mg-calcite (8.6 mole-%) suggests a temperature of formation of about 22 °C, which is 7 °C below average surface water temperatures. The carbon and oxygen isotope compositions of both aragonite and Mg-calcite phases are remarkably homogeneous, but were inconclusive with regard to the cold-water intrusion hypothesis. However, a lack of reef-building corals below a depth of ∼15 m, abundance of Halimeda bioherms on the western margin of K-Bank, where upwelling is predicted, extensive boring of sedimentary particles by endolithic boring algae, and high nutrient values of water at the thermocline (50–70 m deep) all support the incursion of cold, nutrient-rich water onto the bank. Upwelling and nutrient overloading are suggested as explanations for remarkable algal growth at the expense of reef-building corals.