By O.A. Jones (Eds.)
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Additional info for Biology and Geology of Coral Reefs. Geology 2
The main problem for which Darwin's theory provided an explanation was that, whereas open-ocean atolls rose abruptly from the deep ocean floor, it had been shown by Quoy and Gaimard (1824) that reef-building corals were restricted in their growth to near-surface waters (mostly less than 20 m ) . Therefore, corals could not build up reefs from the ocean floor, but it was unreasonable to assume, as did Lyell (1832, pp. 283301), that they were growing on the submerged rims of volcanic craters occurring at suitable depths.
Excavation of some reef patches in the Red Sea by Nesteroff (1955), however, failed to demonstrate an older limestone core.
Bores at the Bikini Atoll in 1947 reached 410 and 780 m, and showed shallowwater reef limestones with little dolomitization, dating back to the Oligocene (Ladd et al, 1948; Cole, 1954; Wells, 1954). Seismic work in 1946 and 1950 indicated a volcanic basement beneath the limestones, with a least depth of 1,600 m (Dobrin and Perkins, 1954; Raitt, 1954), and volcanic rocks were dredged from the atoll slopes at depths of 1,460-3,660 m in 1950 (Emery et al, 1954). The subsidence thus indicated was finally demonstrated by deep drilling at nearby Eniwetok Atoll in 1951.