Volcanic atolls host exceptionally important marine ecosystems in the modern oceans. Yet, due to limited exposures, fossil atolls are poorly constrained. Multiple drowned Cretaceous volcanic atolls have been reported in the Pacific, but less information exists regarding those in the Tethys. Here we report on two early Cenomanian age volcanic atolls outcropping in Mt. Carmel (northern Israel), along the eastern Levant margin. These atolls are a few kilometers in diameter and differ significantly in facies from their surroundings, which are dominated by chalky calcareous mudstone and wackestone. The atolls are composed of grainstone, floatstone, rudstone and bafflestone facies, which are dominated by molluscans, notably gastropods, rudists, oysters and other bivalves. Corals and green algae are absent throughout these atolls. The studied sections of these atolls display a full succession, beginning with aggradation and ending with drowning. Age constraints for the volcanic phases suggest that deposition occurred within a relatively short time interval (<1 Myr) and the sequence represents a keep-up to give-up transition, within rising global and local sea-level trends. The inability of these atolls to keep up with rising sea level is attributed here to a suppressed carbonate factory, either due to drowning, turbidity and/or nutrient excess. Our study sheds new light on the dynamics of carbonate buildups during the Late Cretaceous and their ability to persist.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.
- Atoll succession
ASJC Scopus subject areas