Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-243
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-243
22 Feb 2024
 | 22 Feb 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Reviews and syntheses: Tufa microbialites on rocky coasts towards an integrated terminology

Thomas William Garner, James Andrew Graham Cooper, Alan Smith, Gavin Rishworth, and Matt Forbes

Abstract. Microbialites are known from a range of terrestrial, freshwater, marine, and marginal settings with the applied descriptive terminology depending largely on the historical legacy derived from previous studies in similar environmental settings. This has led to a diversity of nomenclature and a lack of conformity in the terms used to describe and categorise microbialites. As the role of microbial mats and biofilms is increasingly recognised in the formation of tufa and terrestrial carbonates, deposits such as tufa microbialites bridge the spectrum of microbialites and terrestrial carbonate deposits.

Groundwater spring-fed tufa microbialites in supratidal rock coast environments occur at the interface of terrestrial and marine domains and necessitatethe adoption of an integrative and systematic nomenclature approach. To date, their global distribution and complex relationships with pre-defined deposits have resulted in the application of a variety of descriptive terminologies, most frequently at the macro- and meso-scale. Here we review and consolidate the multi-scale library of terminologies for microbialites and present a new geomorphological scheme for their description and classification. This scheme has greater alignment with terrestrial carbonate nomenclature at the macroscale and with marine and lacustrine microbialites at the mesoscale. The proposed terminology can primarily be applied to tufa microbialites in spring-fed supratidal settings but may also be applied to other relevant environmental settings, terrestrial carbonates, microbial mats and other microbialites.

Thomas William Garner, James Andrew Graham Cooper, Alan Smith, Gavin Rishworth, and Matt Forbes

Status: open (until 31 May 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-243', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Feb 2024 reply
Thomas William Garner, James Andrew Graham Cooper, Alan Smith, Gavin Rishworth, and Matt Forbes
Thomas William Garner, James Andrew Graham Cooper, Alan Smith, Gavin Rishworth, and Matt Forbes

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Short summary
There is a diverse and often conflicting suite of terminology, classifications and nomenclature applicable to the study of terrestrial carbonate deposits and microbialites (sediments that are wholly or largely deposited as the result of microbial activity). We review existing schemes and identify duplication and redundancy; and present a new integrated approach applicable to tufa microbialites on rock coasts as well as a wide number of environments and deposits.