Aggradation and carbonate accumulation of Holocene Norwegian cold-water coral reefs

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Titschack J, Baum D, De Pol-Holz D, López Correa M, Forster N, Flögel S, Hebbeln D, Freiwald A
Journal: Sedimentology
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Publication year: 2015
Volume: 62
Journal issue: 7
Pages range: 1873-1898
ISSN: 0037-0746
Language: English


Cold-water coral ecosystems present common carbonate factories along the Atlantic continental margins, where they can form large reef structures. There is increasing knowledge on their ecology, molecular genetics, environmental controls and threats available. However, information on their carbonate production and accumulation is still very limited, even though this information is essential for their evaluation as carbonate sinks. The aim of this study is to provide high-resolution reef aggradation and carbonate accumulation rates for Norwegian cold-water coral reefs from various settings (sunds, inner shelf and shelf margin). Furthermore, it introduces a new approach for the evaluation of the cold-water coral preservation within coldwater coral deposits by computed tomography analysis. This approach allows the differentiation of various kinds of cold-water coral deposits by their macrofossil clast size and orientation signature. The obtained results suggest that preservation of cold-water coral frameworks in living position is favoured by high reef aggradation rates, while preservation of coral rubble prevails by moderate aggradation rates. A high degree of macrofossil fragmentation indicates condensed intervals or unconformities. The observed aggradation rates with up to 1500 cm kyr-1 exhibit the highest rates from cold-water coral reefs so far. Reef aggradation within the studied cores was restricted to the Early and Late Holocene. Available datings of Norwegian cold-water corals support this age pattern for other fjords while, on the shelf, cold-water coral ages are reported additionally from the early Middle Holocene. The obtained mean carbonate accumulation rates of up to 103 g cm-2 kyr-1 exceed previous estimates of cold-water coral reefs by a factor of two to three and by almost one order of magnitude to adjacent sedimentary environments (shelf, slope and deep sea). Only fjord basins locally exhibit carbonate accumulation rates in the range of the cold-water coral reefs. Furthermore, cold-water coral reef carbonate accumulation rates are in the range of tropical reef carbonate accumulation rates. These results clearly suggest the importance of cold-water coral reefs as local, maybe regional to global, carbonate sinks.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Forster, Nina
Lehrstuhl für Paläoumwelt
López Correa, Matthias
Lehrstuhl für Paläoumwelt

External institutions with authors

Universität Bremen

How to cite

Titschack, J., Baum, D., De Pol-Holz, D., López Correa, M., Forster, N., Flögel, S.,... Freiwald, A. (2015). Aggradation and carbonate accumulation of Holocene Norwegian cold-water coral reefs. Sedimentology, 62(7), 1873-1898.

Titschack, Jürgen, et al. "Aggradation and carbonate accumulation of Holocene Norwegian cold-water coral reefs." Sedimentology 62.7 (2015): 1873-1898.


Last updated on 2018-10-08 at 05:55