Current crescents formed by marine algae (Valonia sp.): a new record of obstacle marks lacking preservation of obstacles

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ABSTRACT

Obstacle marks, formed around non-permanent tools, commonly occur on the beach faces of Lower Long Sand Island and Sagar Island, two tidal islands in the Ganga River estuary, India. The marine globose algae, Valonia sp., which bloom profusely in the waters of the Bay of Bengal during winter, are deposited on beach faces after being carried by wave swash, and then act as impermeable obstacles in the path of wave backwash. This creates around the globose algal bodies U-shaped or crescentic marks 2–3 cm in width with arms 1–3 cm in length. The globose vesicles are soon broken up by external forces or by forces of surface tension, leaving crescentic marks around a circular filamentous impression. The crescents always open toward the direction of wave backwash. These structures may prove useful not only for interpreting the palaeoslope and palaeocurrent directions but also for recognizing the palaeoecology.

Ancillary