The sediment composition and predictive mapping of facies on the Propeller Mound-A cold-water coral mound (Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic)

Journal article
(Original article)

Publication Details

Author(s): Heindel K, Titschack J, Dorschel B, Huvenne VA, Freiwald A
Journal: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Publication year: 2017
Pages range: 34-51
ISSN: 0031-0182


Here we provide a detailed qualitative and quantitative insight on recent sediment composition and facies distribution of a cold-water coral (CWC) mound using the example of the Propeller Mound on the Irish continental margin (Hovland Mound Province, Porcupine Seabight). Five facies types on Propeller Mound are defined: (1) living coral framework, (2) coral rubble, (3) dropstone, (4) hardground, representing the on-mound facies, and (5) hemipelagic sediment facies, which describes the off-mound area. This facies definition is based on already published video-data recorded by Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), photo-data of gravity cores, box cores, and dredges from sediment surfaces as well as on the composition of the sediment fraction coarser than 125 μm, which has been analyzed on five selected box cores. Sediment compositions of the living coral framework and coral rubble facies are rather similar. Both sediment types are mainly produced by corals (34 and 35 wt%, respectively), planktonic foraminifers (22 and 29 wt%, respectively), benthic foraminifers (both 7 wt%), and molluscs (21 and 10 wt%, respectively), whereas the living coral framework characteristically features additional brachiopods (6 wt%). Hardgrounds are well-lithified coral rudstones rich in coral fragments (>30 surf%), foraminifers, echinoderms, and bivalves. The dropstone facies and the hemipelagic sediment typically carry high amounts of lithoclasts (36 and 53 wt%, respectively) and planktonic foraminifers (35 and 32 wt%, respectively); however, their faunal diversity is low compared with the coral-dominated facies (12 and <2 wt% coral fragments, 7 and 6 wt% benthic foraminifers, and 4 and 0 wt% balanids). Using the maximum likelihood algorithm within ArcGIS 9.2, spatial prediction maps of the previously described mound facies are calculated over Propeller Mound and are based on mound morphology parameters, ground-truthed with the sedimentary and faunal information from box cores, photographs, and video-data. This method is tested for the first time for CWC ecosystems and provides areal estimates of the predicted facies, as well as suggests further occurrences of living coral frameworks, coral rubble, and dropstones, which are not discovered in the area yet. Thus, sediment composition analysis combined with facies prediction mapping might provide a potential new tool to estimate living CWC occurrences and sediment/facies distributions on CWC mounds, which is an important prerequisite for budget calculations and definition of marine protected areas, and which will improve our understanding of CWC mound formation.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Heindel, Katrin
Lehrstuhl für Paläoumwelt

External institutions with authors

Universität Bremen

How to cite

Heindel, K., Titschack, J., Dorschel, B., Huvenne, V.A., & Freiwald, A. (2017). The sediment composition and predictive mapping of facies on the Propeller Mound-A cold-water coral mound (Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 34-51.

Heindel, Katrin, et al. "The sediment composition and predictive mapping of facies on the Propeller Mound-A cold-water coral mound (Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic)." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (2017): 34-51.


Last updated on 2018-10-08 at 22:28