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Ueber den Bau der Korallenriffe und die Planktonvertheilung an den Samoanischen Küsten nebst vergleichenden Bemerkungen

Abstract

DANA'S main contribution to the Darwinian theory of coral reefs was a persuasive argument based on the geographical distribution and varying size of atolls and reef-grounds. Darwin had shown that if his theory were true, its most important corollary was that certain lines across the Pacific Ocean were lines of subsidence, and that others are either rising or stationary. Dana pointed out that as we approach the supposed lines of subsidence the areas of the coral reefs diminish, islands of non-calcareous rocks disappear, and the coral islands all become atolls, which gradually contract in size; after this comes a tract of sea without islands, and of great depth. Then, the axis of subsidence having been passed, small atolls reappear, the reverse series of changes occurs, until we reach an area of broad fringing reefs round some rocky island. Dana's most striking illustration of this method of reef distribution was the archipelago of Samoa, in which he described a gradual passage from the westernmost, rocky island of Savaii eastward, past reefs of diminishing size, to the last member of the group, the small Rose Atoll. Beyond that island there are some 900 miles of open sea, until the small atolls of the Society Islands begin another series leading up to the great Paumotu Archipelago. Dana explained the distribution of the reefs by assuming that the line between Rose Atoll and the Paumotus had rapidly subsided. This suggestion was in harmony with all the known facts. It has been the argument least shaken during the discussion on Dr. Murray's theory, and has accordingly kept some men firm in the Darwinian faith. Funafuti was originally recommended by the original Coral Island Boring Committee as a suitable site for bore-hole, after it had been tested by this principle unorder to minimise the chance of stumbling on an area of rising sea-floor.

Ueber den Bau der Korallenriffe und die Planktonvertheilung an den Samoanischen Küsten nebst vergleichenden Bemerkungen.

By Dr. Augustin Krämer. With an appendix “Ueber den Palolowurm,” by Dr. A. Collin. 8vo. Pp. ix + 174. (Kiel and Leipzig: Lipsius and Fischer, 1897.)

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G., J. Ueber den Bau der Korallenriffe und die Planktonvertheilung an den Samoanischen Küsten nebst vergleichenden Bemerkungen. Nature 56, 150–151 (1897). https://doi.org/10.1038/056150a0

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