Small reefal platforms that form in response to both tectonic and sea level changes are features ubiquitous through the Phanerozoic. Commonly, however, these small platforms are buried and limited data are available on spatial and temporal lithofacies heterogeneity. This paper by McNeill et al. documents the formation and timing of a ~90 km2 Pliocene-Pleistocene platform as it evolved in a tropical, convergent tectonic setting (backarc) from a siliciclastic foundation to a mixed system dominated by reefal carbonates. The results reveal three depositional sequences defined using field relations and refined depositional ages using strontium-isotope stratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, and coral stratigraphy. The spatial sedimentological patterns of the three sequences provide a near-modern analog that illustrates lithofacies variability that may be present in buried reefal platforms.
Depositional Sequences and Stratigraphy of the Colón Carbonate Platform: Bocas Del Toro Archipelago, Panama by Donald F. McNeill, James S. Klaus, Laura G. O'Connell, Anthony G. Coates, and William A. Morgan