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Fossil Reef
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240,000 years ago, sea level stood approximately 8 metres above its present level. The high wave-energy environment had an erosive effect on Jurassic and cretaceous sediments, creating a platform which enabled the initiation of a coral reef formation. Sea levels dropped and rose again, fluctuating around the present-day level.

A recession of the sea line leads to the exposition of marine sediments, such as beach sands and coral formations. These marine sediments, under the influence of land erosion, are subsequently covered with terrestrial sediments. The erosive action of waves on a growing reef leads to the transport of coral rubble further inland. A situation similar to this must have existed as we can find layers of sand and pebbles enclosed by calcareous material.

A major marine transgression of the sea initiated a second coral reef-building process much larger than the first one. It is still disputable as to how high sea level rose 125,000 years ago. Some authors suggest 30 metres above present sea level. Recent publications speak of 20 metres. Nevertheless, this rise in sea level represents the maximum level in the history of the coral reef formation corresponding to the last interglacial period. It is responsible for the majority of today's fossil coral reef.

Sea level has gradually fallen since then. The sequence of various terraces, which we see along the beach and further inland as well as underwater, represent still-stands of the sea level of varying duration during this general fall of the sea level. The ocean line might even have risen for a short time (in geological terms), but the general trend was that marine sediments were emerging more and more and being covered by terrestrial deposits. Theories on how far sea level must have fallen vary from - 50 to - 120 metres.

30,000 years ago, sea level passed its present level and defined our reef platform as we see it today. At around the last glacial maximum 20,000 years ago, sea level must have reached its minimum. Sea level rose again to its present level 7,000 years ago.

 

 


 

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