, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 991-996

Demise of reef-flat carbonate accumulation with late Holocene sea-level fall: evidence from Molokai, Hawaii

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Twelve cores from the protected reef-flat of Molokai revealed that carbonate sediment accumulation, ranging from 3 mm year−1 to less than 1 mm year−1, ended on average 2,500 years ago. Modern sediment is present as a mobile surface veneer but is not trapped within the reef framework. This finding is consistent with the arrest of deposition at the end of the mid-Holocene highstand, known locally as the “Kapapa Stand of the Sea,” ~2 m above the present datum ca. 3,500 years ago in the main Hawaiian Islands. Subsequent erosion, non-deposition, and/or a lack of rigid binding were probable factors leading to the lack of reef-flat accumulation during the late Holocene sea-level fall. Given anticipated climate changes, increased sedimentation of reef-flat environments is to be expected as a consequence of higher sea level.

Communicated by Geology Editor Dr. Bernhard Riegl