, 27:71 | Cite as

Facies belts and communities of the arctic Vesterisbanken Seamount (Central Greenland Sea)

  • Rüdiger Henrich
  • Martin Hartmann
  • Joachim Reitner
  • Priska Schäfer
  • André Freiwald
  • Stefan Steinmetz
  • Peter Dietrich
  • Jörn Thiede


The Arctic Vesterisbanken Seamount, situated far offshore in the central Greenland Sea, provides a unique facility for studing modern cold water siliceous carbonate deposits. A nearly year round sea ice cover, which retreats on average only during two months, and a rather constant temperature and salinity structure of the water column characterize the Arctic conditions of the area.

Despite predominantly oligotrophic conditions with a pronounced food supply from the pelagic realm only during the ice-free season, the seamount is covered extensively by extended sponge-bryozoan constructions. Three distinct facies belts reveal a pronounced depth zonation which depends on variations in downslope food transfer and which is specifically effective due to the development of aTaylor current regime over the seamount: i) the crest facies from the summit at −133m to −260 m, ii) the shallow slope facies from −260 m to −400 m, iii) the deep slope facies from −400 m down to the abyssal plain at about— 3.000 m. Different biogenic structures and communities are found within these facies belts, including widely extended biogenic mats, sponge bryozoan-serpulid buildups with mounds, hedges, spurs and flatcake-like structures, bryozoan thickets and sponge-crinoid mounds. Depth zonation, internal structure and controlling parameters in the formation of these biogenic structures are discussed in the context of their significance as a modern end member of the Foramol facies and their implication for the fossil record. In addition, the younger volcanic and hydrothermal history of the seamount is presented with special reference to its bearing on Holocene biogenic colonization patterns.


Greenland Sea Sponge Bryozoan Mound Spiculite Development Microbial Binding Arctic Foramol Facies Benthic Communities Holocene 


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Copyright information

© Institut für Paläontologie, Universität Erlangen 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rüdiger Henrich
    • 1
  • Martin Hartmann
    • 2
  • Joachim Reitner
    • 3
  • Priska Schäfer
    • 2
  • André Freiwald
    • 1
  • Stefan Steinmetz
    • 5
  • Peter Dietrich
    • 4
  • Jörn Thiede
    • 1
  1. 1.GEOMAR-Forschungszentrum für marine GeowissenschaftenKiel 14
  2. 2.Geologisch-Paläontologisches Institut der Universität KielKiel 1
  3. 3.Institut für PaläontologieFreie Universität BerlinBerlin 33
  4. 4.Bergakademie Freiberg-Sektion GeowissenschaftenWB HydrogeologieFreiberg
  5. 5.Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und MeeresforschungBremerhaven

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