built by coral animals or formed of solidifying sea drift, the shaping
hand is the hand of the sea."
Carson, Edge of the Sea, p. 193.
Shape of the shore:
Miami oolite forms the lower isles versus upper isles of the Florida keys composed of Key Largo limestone
Florida Bay and the Coconut Grove escarpment
oolite formed chemically and biologically from bodies
of sea creatures
Geology informs us about the substrate, defining the underlying
features of the place
Biology transforms the terrain, redefining the substrate
and adding layers to the patterns of a place:
- microorganisms -- blue green bacteria, dynoflagellates,
- vegetation -- algae and sea grasses.
- animals -- corals, fish, echinoderms, mollusks, birds,
Climate and prevailing wind patterns shape the forms and
reassemble the remains,of the survivors, and hence any shore represents
the remnants: those fortunate few.
that now form the substance of the eastern Keys built their reef during
the Sangamon interglacial period, probably only a few tens of thousands
of years ago. Then the sea stood perhaps one hundred feet higher than
it does today."
Wisconsin Ice sheet advanced the seas receded, the corals grew luxuriantly,
if only briefly, before the sea level dropped killing the corals.
the old reef lies exposed .... in many places the old coral heads are
revealed, so distinctly that the species are identifiable."
overview of The Edge of the Sea.