Potential and limits of combining studies of coarse- and fine-grained sediments for the coastal event history of a Caribbean carbonate environment
The coastal deposits of Bonaire, Leeward Antilles, are among the most studied archives for extreme-wave events (EWEs) in the Caribbean. Here we present more than 400 electron spin resonance (ESR) and radiocarbon data on coarse-clast deposits from Bonaire’s eastern and western coasts. The chronological data are compared to the occurrence and age of fine-grained extreme-wave deposits detected in lagoons and floodplains. Both approaches are aimed at the identification of EWEs, the differentiation between extraordinary storms and tsunamis, improving reconstructions of the coastal evolution, and establishing a geochronological framework for the events. Although the combination of different methods and archives contributes to a better understanding of the interplay of coastal and archive-related processes, insufficient separation, superimposition or burying of coarse-clast deposits and restricted dating accuracy limit the use of both fine-grained and coarse-clast geoarchives to unravel decadal- to centennial-scale events. At several locations, distinct landforms are attributed to different coastal flooding events interpreted to be of tsunamigenic origin. Coastal landforms on the western coast have significantly been influenced by (sub)-recent hurricanes, indicating that formation of the coarse-clast deposits on the eastern coast is likely to be related to past events of higher energy.