Papers by Obrochta, S.P.

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Obrochta, S.P. , Duncan, D.S. , and Brooks, G.R. . 2003. Hardbottom development and significance to the sediment-starved west-central Florida inner continental shelf. Marine Geology, v. 200, p. 291-306
Hardbottoms are sequence boundaries and condensed sections that offer clues for the interpretation of the incomplete record of Tertiary continental shelf evolution. Seaward of 5 km, 50% of the inner west-central Florida shelf seafloor is flat hardbottom. These lithified surfaces are punctuated by shorefacing, scarped hardbottoms that trend shore-parallel (330??0?) and vary in relief (up to 4 m). Scarped hardbottoms are the only natural relief on the inner shelf and support a diverse benthic community, the activities of which erode the outcrops, producing undercuts in excess of 1 m. Outcropping hardbottom strata are comprised of distinct, phosphate-rich, mixed carbonate?siliciclastic lithofacies, that range in age from Miocene to Quaternary. Miocene units are dolomite-rich and mark the upper surface of the inner shelf bedrock (Hawthorn Group). Dolomite within these beds (silt-sized, cloudy centered rhombs) fall into two age groups, correlating with highstands at 15 and 5 Ma. This lithofacies is consistent with models that indicate an increased flux of organic matter ? resulting from topographically induced upwelling ? promoting dolomitization during early burial diagenesis in the sulfate-reduction zone. Quaternary units are calcite-rich and perched atop the shelf bedrock. Samples of these units record a complex diagenetic history and multiple sea-level fluctuations. Based on evidence of primary marine cementation, they are interpreted to be hardground (non-deposition) surfaces, forming as a function of sediment starvation and minimal sediment movement. Decreased highstand magnitude or duration may have resulted in the absence of a significant organic component to Quaternary hardbottoms, which, in turn, may prevent subsequent dolomitization. These outcrops are a potential source for sediments to the inner shelf, not only as habitat for biological sediment production, but also through their destruction. The undercut, shorefacing, scarped hardbottom morphology displayed by west-central Florida hardbottoms is indicative of bio-erosion. Preliminary studies indicate a potential mass of 0.04 kg m-2 yr-1 of siliciclastic sediment is released to the inner shelf.
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