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Reconstructing the Flooding History and Paleoenvironmental Evolution of Entrada Boca Paila: a Phreatic Coastal Karst Basin in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Shawn Edward Kovacs
School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
[email protected]


Sea-level change appears primarily responsible for driving environmental succession in coastal karst basins (e.g., underwater caves, sinkholes, blueholes) over Quaternary timescales. Previous evidence from speleothems indicates that sea level and groundwater oscillate in near synchrony on coastal carbonate terrain during glacioeustatic sea-level cycles. However, speleothems can only evidence the switch between the vadose versus phreatic state of a CKB in response to inundation of a carbonate platform by sea-level rise. As a result, the intrinsic environmental progression that occurs within CKBs during sea-level change has largely been a challenge to resolve with speleothems alone, despite abundant evidence that discrete environments develop in CKBs on modern coastlines. During inundation of a carbonate platform, it has been posited that coastal karst basins evolve through four primary environments (vadose, littoral, anchialine, and submarine), similar to how these environments are found in relation to modern sea level on global carbonate coastlines. The current understanding of environmental change in these basins, however, is hampered by the lack of globally distributed sedimentological data. To further test this hypothesis, Entrada Boca Paila a CKB in the northern Yucatan would be an ideal location to further refine the deglacial sea-level history of the Caribbean basin and reconstruct environmental progression where isostatic elevation corrections are minor.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90199 © 2014 AAPG Foundation 2014 Grants-in-Aid Projects