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Coral Reefs

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 617–633 | Cite as

Geomorphology of the Southeast Florida continental reef tract (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, USA)

  • K. W. Banks
  • B. M. Riegl
  • E. A. Shinn
  • W. E. Piller
  • R. E. Dodge
Report

Abstract

This paper describes the geomorphology of the northern, relict, portion of the Florida reef tract that extends along the southeast Florida (USA) continental coast northward to latitude N26° 43.1′. The descriptions are based on high-resolution Laser Airborne Depth Sounding bathymetric data along Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties as well as chirp subbottom-profiles and reef cores. The SE Florida continental reef tract consists of relict Holocene reefs and lithified sand ridges that apparently formed during backstepping of the reefs in response to sea-level rise. The outer reef is a linear structure that is more or less continuous from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach County and as such is one of the longest continuous reef structures in the western Atlantic. Its relation with the modern Florida Keys reef tract cannot be clearly resolved without further study. The outer reef may be equivalent to the shelf-edge reefs of the Florida Keys. It is broken by reef gaps that likely represent paleo-river channels cross-cutting the underlying Pleistocene substrate. The upward growth of the outer reef ceased approximately 8,000 cal BP (calibrated 14C age before present). A middle reef may represent a remnant shoreface with continuous reef framework. Its growth ceased approximately 3,700 cal BP. An inner reef of Acropora palmata framework is perched on shoreline deposits. It ceased growth approximately 6,000 cal BP. Several nearshore ridges consist of coquina and carbonate/quartz sandstone.

Keywords

SE Florida continental reef tract Geomorphology High-resolution bathymetry Backstepping Relict reef 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties for making the LADS datasets available. B.K. Walker assembled the GIS. H. Guarin of Bert Instruments, Inc., collected and processed subbottom profiling information with his GeocatII. K. Kohler wrote LADS extractor. R. Fairbanks kindly provided us with a TIMS age. We thank three reviewers for useful criticism and B.H. Lidz for a careful review, thorough editing, and many helpful remarks. Support by NOAA-CSCOR grants NA16OA1443 and NA03NOS4260046 to NCRI. This is NCRI contribution # 85.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. W. Banks
    • 1
    • 4
  • B. M. Riegl
    • 2
  • E. A. Shinn
    • 3
  • W. E. Piller
    • 4
  • R. E. Dodge
    • 2
  1. 1.Broward County Environmental Protection Department1 University DrivePlantationUSA
  2. 2.National Coral Reef InstituteNova Southeastern University Oceanographic CenterDaniaUSA
  3. 3.Marine Science CenterUniversity of South FloridaSt. PetersburgUSA
  4. 4.Institut fuer Erdwissenschaften Karl-Franzens-Universitaet GrazGrazAustria

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