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EARTH SCIENCE > PALEOCLIMATE > OCEAN/LAKE RECORDS > CORAL DEPOSITS
Definition:
Corals are generally members of the order Scleractinia, which have hard
calcerous skeletons supporting softer tissues. For paleoclimatic studies, the
important coral subgroup is the reef-building, massive corals known as
hermatypic corals. Coral growth rates vary and are sensitive to sea surface
temperatures (SSTs). Dating coral growth has shown high correspondance between
large excursions of oxygen-18 (del18O) and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
events. Coral growth studies have led to new information about paleo-SSTs,
rainfall, river runoff, ocean circulation, and tropical wind systems.
Reference:
Bradley, R.S. 1999. Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the
Quaternary, 2nd edition. Harcourt Academic Press (especially chapter 6.8).
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