• Alga;
  • Gotland;
  • reef;
  • Silurian;
  • stromatoporoid;
  • Sweden

Patch reefs up to 35 m thick and generally 100–150 m wide, separated by bedded inter-reef sediment, dominate the Högklint Formation (Lower Wenlock) of north-west Gotland. The spacing between adjacent patch reefs is variable, but is commonly 150–350 m. The Högklint is a shallowing sequence, and the patch reefs exhibit a well-developed vertical succession: (1) Axelsro-type patch reefs developed in the underlying Visby Formation; (2) halysitid tabulates capped by laminar stromatoporoids; (3) domical and bulbous stromatoporoids and red algae; (4) cyanobacterial–algal reef crest. The patch reefs expand upwards from an initial bioherm phase with a small base to a laterally extensive biostrome phase. This gives them a thumb-tack appearance. In stage 2 of the bioherm phase, rigid framework development and high reef relief resulted in breakage of angular blocks up to 15 m long, which were incorporated into the reefs or fell into adjacent sediments. Poorly sorted talus haloes (Millingsklint Member) also developed adjacent to stage 2 of the bioherm phase. These include angular blocks and exhibit depositional slopes up to 40° away from the reefs. Stage 3 biostrome development was mainly non-rigid cluster reef, which shed skeletal debris (Domkyrka Member) but few lithified blocks. Stage 4 biostrome development was a reef crest with open to closed frame structure. Storm breakage and overturning produced large blocks with complex cavity fill sequences including double geopetals. Relief during the bioherm phase, indicated by fallen blocks and talus slopes, was up to at least 15 m; during the biostrome phase, it was up to 10 m.