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Controls on late Quaternary coral reefs of the Florida Keys

December 31, 2008

The Florida Keys is an arcuate, densely populated, westward-trending island chain at the south end of a karstic peninsular Florida Platform (Enos and Perkins 1977; Shinn et al. 1996; Kindinger el al. 1999, 2000). The "keys: mark the southernmost segment of the Atlantic continental margin of the United States. The islands are bordered by Florida Bay to the north and west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and southeast , Gulf of Mexico to the west, and the Straits of Florida to the south. Prevailing southeasterly trade winds impinge on the keys, creating a windward margin. The largest coral reef ecosystem in the continental United States rims this margin at a distance of ~5-7km seaward of the keys and occupies a shallow (generally <12m), uneven, westward-sloping shelf (Parker and Cooke 1944; Parker et al. 1955; Enos and Perkins 1977). This platform is tectonically stable at present (Davis et al. 1992; Ludwig et al. 1996; Toscano and Lundberg 1999). The reefs and 240-km-long island chain parallel the submerged shelf margin, corresponding roughly to the 30-m depth contour that marks the base of a fossil shelf-edge reef (studies cited use the same criterion). The modern reef tract extends west-southwest from Soldier Key southeast of Miami (25°60′N, 80°20′W) to the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico (24°40′N, 83°10′W). Reef-tract habitats lie within the protective domain of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (Fig. 2.1.a-c; Multer 1996).

Citation Information

Publication Year 2008
Title Controls on late Quaternary coral reefs of the Florida Keys
DOI
Authors Barbara H. Lidz, Eugene A. Shinn, J. Harold Hudson, Multer H. Gray, Robert B. Halley, Daniel M. Robbin
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70184371
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center