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Fringing Reef

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Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)

Definition

A fringing reef is a shore-attached coral framework structure.

Description

Fringing reefs form close to shore, most often being shore attached, and are relatively thin veneers over non-reefal substrate (Steers and Stoddart, 1977). Fringing reefs can form as a continuous reef flat projecting from the shoreline or may be backed by a shallow lagoon sometimes termed a boat channel (Guilcher, 1988). For a reef to be classed as fringing the lagoon, it should have a maximum depth of 10 m (Milliman, 1974). Fringing reefs represent the first evolutionary stage of Charles Darwin’s (1842) theory of coral atoll evolution when the coral reefs establish on the shoreline of a volcanic island in the open ocean. Gradual subsidence of the volcanic island leads to the fringing reef evolving into a barrier reef as vertical coral growth is maintained on the reef crest. Eventually, the central island sinks below the sea surface, leading to the formation of a coral atoll. The growth and form of a...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_344
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Bibliography

  • Darwin, C. R., 1842. The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs. London: Smith, Elder and Company.

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  • Guilcher, A., 1988. Coral Reef Geomorphology. New York: Wiley.

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  • Kennedy, D. M., and Woodroffe, C. D., 2002. Fringing reef growth and morphology: a review. Earth Science Reviews, 57, 255–277.

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  • Milliman, J. D., 1974. Marine Carbonates. Berlin: Springer.

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  • Steers, J. A., and Stoddart, D. R., 1977. The origin of fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls. In Jones, O. A., and Endean, R. (eds.), Biology and Geology of Coral Reefs. New York: Academic Press, pp. 21–57.

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Correspondence to David M. Kennedy .

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© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Kennedy, D.M. (2016). Fringing Reef. In: Kennish, M.J. (eds) Encyclopedia of Estuaries. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_344

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