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In reef research, models have been developed to define variations in the lithic and biotic development of facies. Walker and Alberstadt, and Hoffman and Narkiewicz developed models for growth of ancient reef communities. Although these models form a solid foundation by which patch reefs can be classed and zoned, they are neither complete nor accurate for all reef types. A comparison was made of Lower Devonian patch reefs from the Appalachian basin of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and Holocene examples from the Bahamas and Florida Keys to identify the structure, orientation, community variability, and succession of the reef biofacies. The complexion and genesis of the carbonate lithofacies were also studied. Results show similarities; these include the size, area distribution, 3-D geometry, wave-resistance potential, lateral sequences of facies, sedimentary textures and structures, vertical zonation explained by growth from low-energy to high-energy regimes, biotic diversity, growth habit and form, and postmortem alteration. Thus, when used in conjunction with the traditional models, the recent can serve as the basis for a general model which include most patch reef types. However, these models should not be used as explicit analogs for all Phanerozoic reefs. Knowing and understanding the limitations of these comparative studies are essential to a fuller comprehension of the potential for variations which exist within and between the traditional models.
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