Early Pleistocene origin of reefs around Lanai, Hawaii

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
By: , and 



A sequence of submerged terraces (L1–L12) offshore Lanai was previously interpreted as reefal, and correlated with a similar series of reef terraces offshore Hawaii island, whose ages are known to be <500 ka. We present bathymetric, observational, lithologic and 51 87Sr/86Sr isotopic measurements for the submerged Lanai terraces ranging from −300 to −1000 m (L3–L12) that indicate that these terraces are drowned reef systems that grew in shallow coral reef to intermediate and deeper fore-reef slope settings since the early Pleistocene. Age estimates based on 87Sr/86Sr isotopic measurements on corals, coralline algae, echinoids, and bulk sediments, although lacking the precision (∼±0.23 Ma) to distinguish the age–depth relationship and drowning times of individual reefs, indicate that the L12–L3 reefs range in age from ∼1.3–0.5 Ma and are therefore about 0.5–0.8 Ma older than the corresponding reefs around the flanks of Hawaii. These new age data, despite their lack of precision and the influence of later-stage submarine diagenesis on some analyzed corals, clearly revise the previous correlations between the reefs off Lanai and Hawaii. Soon after the end of major shield building (∼1.3–1.2 Ma), the Lanai reefs initiated growth and went through a period of rapid subsidence and reef drowning associated with glacial/interglacial cycles similar to that experienced by the Hawaii reefs. However, their early Pleistocene initiation means they experienced a longer, more complex growth history than their Hawaii counterparts.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Early Pleistocene origin of reefs around Lanai, Hawaii
Series title Earth and Planetary Science Letters
DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2009.12.029
Volume 290
Issue 3-4
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Elsevier Science
Description 9 p.
First page 331
Last page 339
Country United States
State Hawai'i
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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