Microbialites of modern siliciclastic rock coasts

Andrew Cooper, Alan Smith, Gavin Rishworth, Carla Dodd, Matt Forbes, Hayley Cawthra, Callum Anderson

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Contemporary microbialite formation has been documented on rocky coasts in a variety of geomorphic, oceanographic and climatic settings. Based on a synthesis of these diverse occurrences plus new observations, a generalised model is presented. At each locality microbialite development is associated with discharge of mineralised freshwater in the coastal zone. Microbialite formation in the high intertidal and supratidal zones of rocky coasts occurs in a variety of sub-environments (cliff face, shore platform surface, platform surface pools, boulder beach, and sand beach) and forms a variety of laminated rock encrustations and oncoids. Allochthonous microbialites occur on the backshore as breccias of reworked microbialite clasts, oncoids transported from rock pools, and partly-encrusted boulders. The microbialite-influenced rock coast is a distinct type of siliciclastic environment that offers potential comparison for ancient microbialite occurrences. It has preservation potential in both transgressive and regressive settings. Potential ancient examples are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sedimentary Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Feb 2022


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