Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs

2011 Edition
| Editors: David Hopley

Submerged Reefs

  • Elizabeth Abbey
  • Jody M. Webster
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2639-2_153


Drowned reefs;  Fossil reefs; Give up reefs; Relict reefs; Shelf edge reefs


Submerged reefs are reefs formed during periods of lower sea level, which currently have little or no modern upward coral framework accretion. These reefs are found in water depths ranging from 25 to 2,000 m depending on their tectonic setting, but most commonly between 40 and 120 m on passive continental margins. They are thought to have drowned as a result of inimical environmental conditions associated with sea level rise during the last deglaciation.


Glacial and interglacial cycles have driven sea level oscillations over the last 500 ka, with extremes of at least –120 to +5 m relative to the present day sea level. Since the last glacial maximum of 19–20 ka, sea level has risen approximately 120 m (see Chapter  Postglacial Transgression). Within this time period, episodes of dramatically faster sea level rise punctuated an otherwise fairly steady transgression (see Chapter  M...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Abbey
    • 1
  • Jody M. Webster
    • 1
  1. 1.School of GeosciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia