HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Samuel Purkis

Second Advisor

Bernhard Riegl

Third Advisor

Arthur Trembanis


Spur and groove (SaG) morphology is a common ornamentation of reef-armored Holocene carbonate platform margins. Composed of margin-normal promontories constructed of coral framestone, termed “spurs”, interleaved with similarly orientated gullies, “grooves”, this morphology varies based on a host of physical controls. Primarily, the surrounding oceanographic conditions as well as the size and shape of the platform the SaG is encompassing, directly influence the development and organization of SaG. Since grooves act as conduits for carbonate sediment transport, this study seeks to examine the relationship between SaG organization dictated by platform size and shape and how that in turn influences platform-top sedimentation. The analysis reveals trends that suggest platform shape plays a larger role than platform size in allowing highly organized SaG to develop on multiple margins around the platform. In turn, those trends would suggest these sites to have more stable platform top sediment deposits. However, many variables go in to the creation and maintenance of platform top cays. While this study enhanced the current understanding of how oceanographic conditions influence SaG development and organization, expanding on the concepts and results found in this study coupled with coring data of SaG and platform-top cays, could further link the connection between SaG and sediment transport.