• Bioturbation in Supratidal Carbonates: Georadar Characterization of the Patterns and Structure of Decapod Burrows

      Buynevich, Ilya V. (Ilya Val); Nyquist, Jonathan; Ravi, Sujith (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)
      Bioturbation in supratidal carbonate substrates has only recently received attention from ichnologists, relying primarily on traditional ground-based techniques. This study is the first high-resolution geophysical investigation of three decapod species inhabiting adjacent coastal biotopes on San Salvador Island. Extensive (>2 km) 800 MHz georadar surveys captured a diverse suite of >120 burrows of ghost (Ocypode quadrata), blackback (Gecarcinus lateralis) and blue (Cardisoma guanhumi) land crabs. Site-specific post-processing protocols were used to establish characteristic attributes that distinguish unfilled burrows from other discordant anomalies based on signal polarity structure. Variably oriented 2D and quasi-3D (~0.75-1.25 wavelength line separation) images allow the diagnostic signature of G. lateralis burrows to be distinguished from those of O. quadrata based on: 1) higher density of point-source diffractions (0.9-1.9/m vs. 0.01-0.06/m) and 2) shallower inclination angle (21-46° vs. >60°). C. guanhumi burrows are differentiated by: 1) larger diameter; 2) presence of an end chamber (where the radar signal is not attenuated by saline groundwater); 3) low electromagnetic signal velocity (~9 cm/ns vs. ~11 cm/ns) in organic-rich muddy substrate and 4) rapid signal decay. The migrated inclination angle (a) and the effective range (t0; time window of strongest reflectors) offer the best combination that differentiates between the three end-member structures and matrix properties. This study establishes GPR as a viable non-invasive subsurface imaging technique, with potential implications for: 1) identification of shifting ichnocoenoses, as exemplified by intense hurricane impacts (2015/2016); 2) recognition and mapping of similar biogenic structures in buried or lithified carbonates and, 3) quantification of a near-surface ichnofabric index and the dual porosity/permeability structure of prospective hydrocarbon reservoirs. Furthermore, the basic attributes of subsurface visualization can be readily extended to other mesoscale biogenic structures in evaporite and siliciclastic media.