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Phanerozoic Reef Trends Based on the Paleoreef Database

Chapter
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 17)

Abstract

Although many review papers and books have discussed the Phanerozoic history of reefs in detail (Newell, 1971; Heckel, 1974; Wilson, 1975; James, 1983; Fagerstrom, 1987; Copper, 1988, Copper, 1989; Talent, 1988; Flügel and Flügel-Kahler, 1992; James and Bourque, 1992; Kauffman and Fagerstrom, 1993; Hallock, 1997; Wood, 1998, Wood, 1999), several open questions remain to be answered. The major limitations in current knowledge are due to the insufficient quantification of ancient reef attributes and consequently an often subjective evaluation. Reefs vary in terms of constructional types, dominant reef-building groups, environmental setting, and petrographic attributes. These differences have led to designations of an absence of reefs in particular time intervals. For example, James (1983) and James and Bourque (1992) stated that metazoan reefs were present during the Middle Ordovician to Late Devonian, the Late Triassic, the Middle to Late Jurassic, the middle Cretaceous, and the younger Cenozoic, whereas the remainder of the Phanerozoic was exclusively characterized by mounds. Although it is correct to separate true reefs and mounds, this view limits our views of reefs as individual ecosystems. To allow a comparison of reefs through time; a broad definition of reefs has to be applied: In this chapter, reefs are regarded as laterally confined carbonate structures developing due to the growth or activity of aquatic sessile benthic organisms.

Keywords

Coral Reef Reef Growth Shelf Margin Reef Tract Mass Extinction Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysical SciencesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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