Comprehensive model for modern lagoonal patch reef systems in Discovery Bay, Jamaica.
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Maher, Marie A.
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Interpretations of ancient carbonate organic structures have relied upon the modern forereef environment of fringing or barrier reefs. However, data collected over the past thirty years suggests that lagoonal patch reefs may serve as a more useful model. Observations made at the Red Buoy Patch Reef in Discovery Bay, Jamaica suggest that lagoonal patch reefs may develop in a cycle similar to that of Early Pennsylvanian bioherms by Bonem (1978). This project focuses on analysis of the biological and sedimentologic development of the Red Buoy Patch Reef to identify changes in the reef's history to support this model of cyclic development. Data gathered in this study indicate that there are strong correlations between the texture and composition of the reef sediments and the biotic zonation. The distributions of the biotic zones on the reef correlate with the stability of environmental factors such as temperature, depth, and sedimentation flux. Cyclic development such as that seen in previously studied bioherms was observed on the reef following major storm events.