Five sedimentary facies are described from SCUBA diving examination and sampling of Mannin Bay, Ireland. A Bank facies is built up by the unattached coralline algae Lithothamnium corallioides and Phymatolithon calcareum. This autochthonous facies occurs in shallow sheltered environments. In exposed areas a rippled Clean Algal Gravel facies is found composed of coralline and molluscan debris. In intermediate energy areas a Muddy Algal Gravel facies is found with small amounts of live corallines. Sheltered creeks have a Mud facies which is partly carbonate and partly terrigenous. The shallow water coralline algal sediments are overlapped by a Fine Sand facies of mixed biogenic composition. Each facies is characterized by particular phenotypic growth forms of the unattached corallines. Rates of organic calcium carbonate production are obtained which are found to be similar to rates from shallow tropical non-reef environments. The carbonate sediments of Mannin Bay are compared with similar sediments from Kilkerrin Bay. Ireland, from Brittany and from Falmouth Harbour. From these comparisons, facies models are proposed for these carbonate sediments. The major factor controlling facies distribution is coastal morphology. The present day shelf is considered to be too exposed to preserve complete sequences of the shallow water sediments.
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