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Diaphus Bank is located at 28.09°N and 90.71°W, 80 km west of the Mississippi Trough. It is rectangular and covers an area of about 33 square km. Surrounding water depths range from 110 m on the north to 130 m on the south, with increasing depths to the south down the upper continental slope. The bank stands about 40 m above the surrounding shelf, with shallowest depth at a peak in the center of the bank lying at 73 m. The most prominent feature of the bank is an east-west ridge, which has extremely steep and linear south side. The slope on the north side is much gentler. A smaller ridge extends to the north and to the south from the center of the east-west structure. Marine life incident at the banks includes fishes, sponges, coralline algae and other mobile invertebrates.
Location on Continental Shelf: Outer-Shelf Bank
Coordinates: 28.09° N 90.71° W
Nearest Largest City: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Area of Coverage: 33 km2
Minimum Depth: 73 m
Maximum Depth: 130 m
Minimum Temperature: 13oC
Maximum Temperature: 30oC
Minimum Salinity: 28 ppt
Maximum Salinity: 36 ppt
Biotic communities on Diaphus Bank consist of scanty populations of scleractinian corals and coralline algae. Reef building is slow and appears to be arrested, but drowned reef patches occur at least down to 107 m depth. The largest drowned reefs are at 85- and 95-m depths. As they progress from the bank edge toward the central portion of the bank, the drowned reefs become increasingly less elevated above the bottom (some only 0.5 m high), but their lateral dimensions (which average 3 to 6 m across) and spacing (generally 3 to 9 m or more apart) are fairly uniform. Below 95 m the drowned reefs are smaller and more heavily laden with fine sediment. Generally, coralline algae population on the drowned reefs is sparse and incidental and cannot be considered an effective reef building population.
Diaphus Bank shelf-edge carbonate bank with reefs located on a domal diapiric structure that has been breeched by a major down-to-sea, normal fault. This creates the massive, south-facing scarp that is so prominent on the bank. The dominant sediment at the crest of the western peak is a coarse, carbonate sand with scattered algal nodules on its surface.
NOAA.2002. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States. URL: http://www.nccos.noaa.gov/documents/status_coralreef.pdf
Rezak, R., Bright, T.J. and McGrail, D.W. 1985. Reefs and Banks of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico: Their geological, biological, and physical dynamics. Wiley, New York, NY, USA, 259 p.
Keywords: Coralline algae, Salt dome, Sponge, Reef
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