Kelly, C.S., Green, A.N., Cooper, J.A.G. and Wiles, E. 2014. Beachrock facies variability and sea level implications: a preliminary study. In: Green, A.N. and Cooper, J.A.G. (eds.), Proceedings 13th International Coastal Symposium (Durban, South Africa), Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 70, pp. 736–742, ISSN 0749-0208.
In spite of the worldwide abundance of beachrocks and their acknowledged utility as an indicator of former sea level position, some studies have expressed doubt as to their position of cementation on paleo shorelines. These criticisms are not, however, coupled with nuanced sedimentological studies of beachrocks. Instead, few beachrock studies acknowledge any facies and therefore disregard important signatures of the depositional environment and, consequently, utility as paleo sea level indicators. This study presents detailed sedimentological descriptions and interpretations from two beachrock localities along the subtropical, microtidal, wave-dominated eastern coastline near Durban, South Africa. The outcrops record the migration of a paleo inlet and deposition in sub, inter, and supra tidal environments. Understanding the inferred depositional environment, and observed stratigraphic relationships between various beachrock facies is critical to teasing out the local evolution of shoreline and relative sea level. The outcrops studied here record multiple episodes of Holocene sea level rise and fall.