Carbonate Banks & Guyots

August 6-8, 1985 – La Jolla, California
Convener: Edward Winterer, Wolfgang Schlager

This workshop was held to develop a scientific drilling program on carbonate banks and guyots. The major thrust of the recommendations is that there are special attributes of low-latitude carbonate platform buildups to address outstanding problems in paleoceanography, tectonics, sedimentology and geochemisty. Carbonate platforms are excellent monitors of relative changes in sea level, because their upward growth potential and their sensitive diagenetic response to exposure or invasion by the fresh meteoritic water. The types and frequency of turbidites derived from banks also may be used to date times of high and low stands of sea level, and propose to test hypotheses of high- and low-stand shedding from banks. The fossils in the strata provide an adequate time scale. The main contributors to upward growth cannot prosper a depth of more than a few tens of meters and some atolls do ultimately drown, to become guyots. Besides the question of vertical motions (sea level and tectonic subsidence) it is proposed to use paleolatitude data from the volcanic foundations of guyots and from sediments in archipelagic aprons flanking them to study the horizontal motions of lithospheric plates. Reliable paleolatitude data from seamounts are prerequisites for testing the degree of fixity of hot spots for determining true polar wander.

Workshop Report (pdf)

Organizing Committee
Edward Winterer, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Wolfgang Schlager, Vrije Universiteit