Homotrema rubrum (Lamarck) taphonomy as an overwash indicator in Marine Ponds on Anegada, British Virgin Islands
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- Pilarczyk, J.E. & Reinhardt, E.G. Nat Hazards (2012) 63: 85. doi:10.1007/s11069-010-9706-3
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Marine hypersaline ponds on Anegada, British Virgin Islands contain stratigraphic evidence (Shell and Sand Sheet) of a A.D. 1650–1800 overwash event that could have formed through a hurricane or tsunami. Candidates for the deposit include far-field (e.g. 1755 Lisbon tsunami) and local Puerto Rico Trench events (e.g. 1690), but hurricanes cannot be ignored. The goal of this study is to provide additional information to assess the origin of the deposit by examining the taphonomic characters of Homotrema rubrum, a common encrusting foraminifer in Caribbean reef settings. Surface samples (n = 12) from major sub-environments (reef-flat, beach, storm wrack, and dune) and pond sections (n = 6; 20–80 cm thick) are analyzed for their Homotrema concentration (specimens/cm3) and taphonomic character. Particle-size analysis was conducted on the same sections and samples. Highly Preserved (red colored, angular, intact chambers) Homotrema dominate the beach, storm wrack, and reef-flat deposits relative to the dune sand, but the beach and storm wrack contain the largest specimens. The Shell and Sand Sheet in the pond has Highly Preserved and abundant Homotrema (specimens/cm3) versus other sedimentary units in the ponds (e.g. Mud Cap and Shelly Mud). Its taphonomic character is most similar (test size and condition) to the storm wrack deposit on the beach indicating an outside provenance for the sand. Concentration of Homotrema in the Shell and Sand Sheet declined southward indicating a northerly reef-flat provenance for the overwash, although it does not preclude a southern inundation as well. It is unclear whether Homotrema individuals originated from the reef itself or were eroded from older beach ridge deposits during the overwash event. Conclusions from Homotrema taphonomic analysis were limited by the lack of comparative data from known hurricane and tsunami deposits in other Caribbean regions.