Providenciales Reefs

Reefs of Providenciales
North East Margin Deep Spur and Groove.

Seaward from the reef crest at the northern platform margin is a constructional forereef ramp with areas of spurs (coral ridges) and grooves (channels) in water depths between 15 and 30 meters. Corals on the shallowest portion of the forereef are predominantly flat encrusting forms. The fire hydrocoral, Millepora, is the main growth above the bottom. Branching Acropora palmata buttresses and then head corals increase in abundance deeper down the forereef ramp. Algal scum commonly stabilizes the medium to coarse sand and gravel in the deeper grooves. When sand moves, it is funneled downslope. This sand has only been observed to move during times when very large swells are coming in from the open Atlantic. Onshore seas produced during Hurricane Kate did not cause sediment movement in these areas.Seaward of the spur and groove zone, the bottom drops to a narrow sand covered terrace at about 25-30 m depth.

Providenciales contains four other important settings: a reef-derived skeletal sand forming a thick sediment wedge for several kilometers behind the reef; associated patch reefs on isolated to linear rubble mounds; molluscan-foraminiferal sands in the inner lagoon; and inshore hardbottom communities on transgressed Pleistocene limestone and Holocene beachrock substrates. The photographers of the images in the galleries ranged from Ned Frost, Ryan Phelps, Jerome Bellian, Steve Steve Bachtel, Enzo Aconcha, and Christopher Kendall, all of whom participated on a field trip by Jackson School of Geosciences from Austin Texas.

The image galleries for the Providenciales Reefs are linked from the images above into three groups:
(1) Providenciales Fore Reef
(2) Providenciales Patch Reef
(3) Providenciales Pleistocene Reef
Friday, June 10, 2016
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