Stemann, Thomas A.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Geography and Geology
Reef corals of the White Limestone Group of Jamaica
Date of Publication
Sedimentary rocks of the White Limestone Group of Jamaica were deposited in a range of shallow-to-deep-water marine settings from the Middle Eocene to Middle Miocene. Horizons rich in scleractinian corals occur throughout this lithologic unit. The present study, using large, new collections (>2,000 specimens) and museum specimens, recognises 98 scleractinian species in 42 genera in the White Limestone Group. Thirty-six of these species have not been previously described in the literature. From the Middle to Upper Eocene, eleven species are reported from the Troy Formation, twelve from the upper Middle Eocene Swanswick Formation and eleven species from the Late Eocene Somerset Formation. In the Moneague Formation, fifty-two species are recorded from the lower part of the Upper Oligocene succession in units formerly mapped as the Browns Town Formation. Also, in the uppermost Oligocene of the Moneague Formation, sixty-four coral species are reported from rocks formerly mapped as the Newport Formation. An additional fifteen species are reported from the Early Miocene portions of the Montpelier Formation. In addition to scleractinian corals, a stony octocoral species (Parapolytremacis sp.) is found in the Upper Oligocene of the Moneague Formation, and at least two species of Millepora (class Hydrozoa) are recorded from the Eocene and Oligocene portions o f the White limestone Group. Coral assemblages from the Eocene of the White Limestone Group are largely dominated by scattered, thinly branched and free-living corals, while Late Oligocene assemblages contain a diverse group of large massive, plate-shaped and branched corals in a system of patch reefs and coral carpets. The early Miocene assemblage represents a possible deeper forereef community transported into deep water sediments in an olistostromic block. The total number of species found exceeds that known from any other single region or lithologic unit in the Caribbean Eocene through Miocene.....