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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 63 (1979)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 424

Last Page: 424

Title: Role of Bioerosion in Mass-Wasting of Pleistocene Outcrops on Georgia Coast: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Richard S. Brokaw, Jr., James D. Howard

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Outcrops of semiconsolidated Pleistocene sands, exposed by meandering tidal rivers and creeks in the Georgia estuaries, are undergoing rapid disaggregation by a variety of plants and animals. Bioeroders include large and small mammals, wasps, crabs, isopods, and pelecypods. In this area, bioerosion is responsible for retreat of bluffs as high as 15 m and contributes significantly to mass-wasting and subsequent erosion by currents and waves.

Blocks initially break away from the bluffs along fractures created by plant roots. As the blocks move downslope they serve as substrates for numerous supralittoral, littoral, and sublittoral invertebrate organisms which burrow, bore, and scrape the blocks as well as the bluff itself. Different organisms are restricted to distinct vertical zones and the degree of bioerosion increases to a maximum at the low-water line where boulders are riddled with borings, mainly by the isopod Sphaeroma destructor. Multiple isopod borings are in turn further eroded to form large burrows and galleries occupied by crabs. Rates of excavation and colonization of exposed surfaces are rapid, and obvious changes occur in periods of less than 2 weeks.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists