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Miocene-Pliocene rocky shores on Sao Nicolau (Cape Verde Islands): contrasting windward and leeward biofacies on a volcanically active oceanic island

Johnson, Markes E., Ramalho, Ricardo S., Baarli, B. Gudveig, Cachao, Mario, da Silva, Carlos M., Mayoral, Eduardo J. and Santos, Ana 2014. Miocene-Pliocene rocky shores on Sao Nicolau (Cape Verde Islands): contrasting windward and leeward biofacies on a volcanically active oceanic island. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 395 , pp. 131-143. 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.12.028

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North Atlantic islands in the Cape Verde Archipelago off the coast of West Africa commonly feature an elongated N–S shape in which reduced northern coasts and longer eastern shores absorb the brunt of wave activity and long-shore currents generated by prevailing North East Trade Winds. Located in the middle windward islands, São Nicolau is unusual in profile with an elongated E–W configuration that offers a broad target against high-energy, wind-driven waves. Conversely, the south shore of São Nicolau provides relatively wide shelter in a leeward setting. Reconstruction of the proto-island prior to the onset of the Main Eruptive stage during the Late Miocene at ~ 5.1 Ma reveals a moderately smaller island with essentially the same E–W orientation. This study combines previous data with results from a detailed stratigraphic log based on Upper Miocene limestone deposits on the island's south flank for comparison with stratigraphic profiles of Upper Miocene limestone from the island's northeast quarter. Logs from a Pliocene sandy limestone outcropping on the south-central coast of São Nicolau give added context to the diversity of marine invertebrates, including branching coral colonies and delicate ramose bryozoans that found shelter in a leeward setting. Whole rhodoliths contribute the main fabric of carbonates deposited against rocky shores on the northern, exposed side of the Miocene island, whereas only traces of worn rhodoliths and rhodolith sand occur as in finer Miocene grainstone on the island's southern, protected side. Miocene and Pliocene carbonate deposits were terminated by submarine flows on an actively growing volcanic island. The passage zone from submarine to subaerial flows on the island's flanks makes a useful meter-stick to gauge absolute water depth at the moment of local extinction by volcanic activity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0031-0182
Date of Acceptance: 19 December 2013
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2021 16:15

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