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Contribution of Benthic Processes to the Growth of Ooids on a Low-Energy Shore in Cat Island, The Bahamas

Mariotti, Giulio and Pruss, Sara B. and Summons, Roger E. and Newman, Sharon A. and Bosak, Tanja (2018) Contribution of Benthic Processes to the Growth of Ooids on a Low-Energy Shore in Cat Island, The Bahamas. Minerals, 8 (6). Art. No. 252. ISSN 2075-163X. doi:10.3390/min8060252.

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Ooids are typically found in frequently reworked coastal sediments, and are thought to accrete by inorganic chemical precipitation around moving grains. The high organic content and the presence of biosignatures, however, suggest that ooids interact with benthic microbial communities. Here, we investigate the role of benthic processes on ooid growth on a leeward shore of Cat Island, The Bahamas. Polished ooids are present in the surf zone, whereas dull ooids and grapestones are present in microbially colonized sediments seaward of the surf zone. Wave hydrodynamics and sediment transport modeling suggest that microbially colonized sediments are mobilized at monthly time scales. We propose a new conceptual model for both ooids and grapestone. Ooids rest and accrete in the area covered by microbial mats, but are periodically transported to the surf zone where wave abrasion polishes them within days. Ooids are then transported back to microbially colonized areas where the accretion cycle resumes. Ooids too large to be transported become trapped outside the surf zone, exit the “conveyor belt” and become grapestones. The benthic growth mechanism predicts petrographic characteristics that match observations: successive ooid laminae do not thin outward, laminae exhibit irregularities, and some ooids include multiple nuclei.

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Summons, Roger E.0000-0002-7144-8537
Additional Information:© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018. (This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbialites: Preservation of Extant and Extinct Systems) This research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Astrobiology Institute (NNA13AA90A) Foundations of Complex Life, Evolution, Preservation, and Detection on Earth and Beyond. TB was supported by the Simons Foundation Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. Acknowledgment is made to the Donors of the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for partial support of this research. Author Contributions: Conceptualization, G.M., S.B.P. and T.B.; Formal Analysis, G.M.; Methodology, G.M., S.A.N. and S.B.P.; Software, G.M.; Resources, S.B.P., T.B., R.E.S.; Writing: Original Draft Preparation, G.M.; Writing: Review and Editing, G.M., S.B.P., R.E.S., T.B., S.A.N. The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
American Chemical Society Petroleum Research FundUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Pigeon Cay; grapestone; abrasion; carbonate precipitation; microbial mat
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180711-163403093
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87786
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:12 Jul 2018 14:34
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:51

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