Tafoni caves in quaternary carbonate eolianites: examples from the Bahamas
Owen, Athena Marie
AdvisorMylroie, E. John
Rodgers III, John
Tafoni have been confusingly defined in many ways: variations in size, rock type, and forming mechanisms. This study addresses tafoni in Quaternary eolian carbonates to help better define the term. Large tafoni were differentiated from other coastal caves in the Bahamas, specifically flank margin and sea caves, using morphometric analyses. The differentiation is important as all three cave types form in the same area, but flank margin and sea caves can be used as paleo-sea level indicators, while tafoni cannot. Small tafoni show a growth rate of 0.022 m3/yr; and may amalgmate to form larger tafoni, which grew at 0.65 m3/yr. Petrographic analysis helped identify tafoni-forming mechanisms; results revealed no evaporites present, removing crystal wedging as a mechanism, while indicating wind erosion as the primary mechanism. This analysis found significantly greater cements within the Holocene rocks compared to previous studies, and SEM analysis revealed organic cements preserved by oil-based cutting.