Seismic stratigraphy of the Blue Hole (Lighthouse Reef, Belize), a late Holocene climate and storm archive

Gischler, Eberhard; Anselmetti, Flavio; Shinn, Eugene A. (2013). Seismic stratigraphy of the Blue Hole (Lighthouse Reef, Belize), a late Holocene climate and storm archive. Marine Geology, 344, pp. 155-162. Elsevier 10.1016/j.margeo.2013.07.013

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Five seismic units may be identified in the similar to 8 m thick Holocene sediment package at the bottom of the Blue Hole, a 120 m deep sinkhole located in the atoll lagoon of Lighthouse Reef, Belize. These units may be correlated with the succession of an existing 5.85-m-long sediment core that reaches back to 1385 kyrs BP. The identification of seismic units is based on the fact that uniform, fine-grained background sediments show weak reflections while alternating background and coarser-grained event (storm) beds exhibit strong reflections in the seismic profiles. The main source of sediments is the marginal atoll reef and adjacent lagoon area to the east and north. Northeasterly winds and storms transport sediment into the Blue Hole, as seen in the eastward increase in sediment thickness, i.e., the eastward shallowing of the Blue Hole. Previous assumptions of much thicker Holocene sediment packages in the Blue Hole could not be confirmed. So far, close to 6-m-long cores were retrieved from the Blue Hole but the base of the sedimentary succession remains to be recovered. The nature of the basal sediments is unknown but mid-Holocene and possibly older, Pleistocene sinkhole deposits can be expected. The number of event beds identified in the Blue Hole (n = 37) during a 1.385 kyr-long period and the number of cyclones listed in historical databases suggest that only strong hurricanes (categories 4 and 5) left event beds in the Blue Hole sedimentary succession. Storm beds are numerous during 13-0.9 kyrs BP and 0.8-0.5 kyrs BP.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Quaternary Geology

UniBE Contributor:

Anselmetti, Flavio


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Flavio Anselmetti

Date Deposited:

08 Aug 2014 17:11

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2015 09:03

Publisher DOI:





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