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A review of whiting formation in the Bahamas and new models

Abstract

Whitings in the Bahamas have remained a sedimentological enigma for the last 80 years. Their formation has been prescribed to three major schools of thought: (a) resuspension of bottom sediment, (b) direct precipitation from bank water, and (c) biological mediation. This paper reports on field evidence to support the formation of two classes of whitings. The first class of whitings are those that have been reported in the literature extensively for the past 80 years. These whitings occur in deeper bank water (5–15 m) and are formed through the tidal oscillations of bank water through sediment-filled blue holes. The fish suspension model, hypothesized but not demonstrated for whiting occurrences out on the open banks, may apply to near-shore whiting events. Sediment-filled blue hole distributions have also been calculated for the Bahamian platforms and there should be more than 2,500 sediment-filled blue holes on Great and Little Bahama Banks. This large number of sediment-filled blue holes on the Bahamian banks more than adequately accounts for the density of whitings and explains their point source nature and occurrence at the same locations through time.

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Acknowledgments

Nancy Albury, Brian Kakuk and Tom Iliffe are thanked for access to their blue hole databases. Michael and Nancy Albury and Nicole Ridlen are also thanked for their help with field work. The Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University and Exxon-Mobil provided financial support to the authors.

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Correspondence to Erik B. Larson.

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Larson, E.B., Mylroie, J.E. A review of whiting formation in the Bahamas and new models. Carbonates Evaporites 29, 337–347 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13146-014-0212-7

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Keywords

  • Blue hole
  • Whitings
  • Bahamas
  • Carbonates
  • Sedimentology
  • Karst