A recent study of coral formations in different tropical locations will be used to help geologists reconstruct climate and storm patterns of the past and learn more about the preservation of reefs. The findings will be presented by David Meyer, University of Cincinnati professor of geology, at the upcoming 2002 meeting and exposition of the Geological Society of America.
Meyer’s previous research established that coral reefs can be an index of the ocean’s health and are greatly impacted by pollution. The report he will deliver at this year’s GSA meeting describes how hurricanes affect coral formations and will help scientists compare modern storm effects to those of the past.
Meyer conducted the research with Benjamin Greenstein of Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and recent UC graduate Jill Bries. The trio’s work investigated the effect that the frequency of hurricanes had on the geological record contained in coral reefs. In high-frequency hurricane areas like the Bahamas and Florida Keys, coral formations were damaged and broken. Meyer described it "like a forest fire going through." Reefs studied in the southern Caribbean islands of Curacao and Bonaire were well preserved owing to a very low frequency of storms.
Marianne Kunnen-Jones | EurekAlert!
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