Paired analyses of drill cores and high-resolution seismic reflection data show that development of Holocene framework reefs on the Oahu (Hawaii) shelf is limited to settings of low wave energy and to the period 8000 to 3000 yr BP. A prominent bounding surface that is mapped across much of the Oahu shelf is an erosion surface cut into Marine Isotope Stages 5 and 7 limestones that show extensive loss of primary porosity, aragonite, and MgCO3 owing to meteoric and vadose-zone diagenesis. This acoustic reflector is found exposed at the surface where wave energy is high or in the shallow subsurface below Holocene reef and sand sheet deposits where energy is low. Ship-towed video along 30 km of the shelf reveals a steady decrease in limestone accumulation from offshore of Honolulu southeast to Koko Head where the seafloor is characterized by volcanic pavement and/or thin sand deposits. This may reflect the build-up of late Pleistocene volcanics associated with the Hanauma Bay eruption (30,000-7000 yr BP) that now comprise the substrate in depths shallow enough to limit reef accretion. The absence of significant Holocene reef build-up on the south Oahu shelf is consistent with observations from north-facing coasts that lack Holocene reefs, indicating that Holocene reef formation in Hawaii is complex and patchy. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Shelf stratigraphy and the influence of antecedent substrate on Holocene reef development, south Oahu, Hawaii