Coral Reefs

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 581–592 | Cite as

Holocene uplifted coral reefs in Lanyu and Lutao Islands to the southeast of Taiwan

  • S. Inoue
  • H. Kayanne
  • N. Matta
  • W. S. Chen
  • Y. Ikeda


Lanyu and Lutao Islands to the southeast of Taiwan are located in the northern extension of the Luzon Arc. Crustal deformation of these islands provides a key to understand the collision of the Luzon Arc against Taiwan. To clarify the style and the rate of vertical movement during the Holocene, uplifted coral reefs fringing these two islands were investigated. Living corals were also investigated for comparison with fossil corals. It was found that Isopora palifera lives dominantly in the upper slope of the present-day fringing coral reefs in Lanyu Island at an average depth of 101 ± 46 cm (one standard deviation) below mean sea level. Using I. palifera as an accurate indicator of paleo-sea levels, Holocene relative sea-level changes were reconstructed. Lanyu Island has been uplifted continuously at a rate of 2.0 mm yr−1, at least during the late Holocene from 2,269 cal. yr BP to the present. Lutao Island has been uplifted at an average rate of 1.2 mm yr−1, since at least 5,749 cal. yr BP, although it is unclear whether the uplift was continuous. The present observations, combined with the GPS displacement field and deep crustal structure, suggest that the continuous uplift is related to aseismic slip on the Longitudinal Valley Fault.


Uplifted coral reefs Holocene Isopora palifera Taiwan Tectonics 



Mean sea level


Longitudinal Valley Fault



This research was partly funded by the Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of Tokyo. We would like to acknowledge the following people: Professor Y. G. Chen gave valued input on the geology of Lanyu and Lutao Islands, Dr. C. Hongo identified species of fossil corals and reviewed the manuscript, and Mr. A. Kobayashi and Mrs. Y. Isozaki helped with XRD analysis.


  1. Bard E, Hamelin B, Arnold M, Montaggioni LF, Cabioch G, Faure G, Rougerie F (1996) Deglacial sea-level record from Tahiti corals and the timing of global meltwater discharge. Nature 382:241–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chappell J, Ota Y, Berryman KR (1996) Holocene and late Pleistocene coseismic uplift of Huon Peninsula. Papua New Guinea. Quaternary Sci Rev 15:7–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen YG, Liu TK (1992) Vertical crustal movement of a tectonic uplifting volcanic island–Lutao. J Geol Soc China 35:231–246Google Scholar
  4. Dai CF, Soong K, Chen CA, Fan TY, Hsieh HJ, Jeng MS, Chen CH, Horng S (2004) Status of coral reefs of Taiwan. GCRM Report of East China Sea Region 3.3:153–163Google Scholar
  5. Grossman EE, Fletcher CHIII, Richmond BM (1998) The Holocene sea-level highstand in the equatorial Pacific: analysis of the insular paleosea-level database. Coral Reefs 17:309–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hongo C, Kayanne H (2010) Holocene sea-level record from corals: Reliability of paleodepth indicators at Ishigaki Island, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 287:143–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Liew PM, Pirazzoli PA, Hsieh ML, Arnold M, Barusseau JP, Fontugne M, Giresse P (1993) Holocene tectonic uplift deduced from elevated shorelines, eastern Coastal Range of Taiwan. Tectonophysics 222:55–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. McIntosh K, Nakamura Y, Wang TK, Shih RC, Chen A, Liud CS (2005) Crustal-scale seismic profiles across Taiwan and the western Philippine Sea. Tectonophysics 401:23–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Malavielle J, Trullenque G (2009) Consequences of continental subduction on forearc basin and accretionary wedge deformation in SE Taiwan: Insights from analogue modeling. Tectonophysics 466:377–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Nakada M (1986) Holocene sea levels in oceanic islands: implications for the rheological structure of the earth’s mantle. Tectonophysics 121:263–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nakata T, Takahashi T, Koba M (1978) Holocene emerged coral reefs and sea-level changes in the Ryukyu Islands. Geogr Rev of Japan 51:87–108 (in Japanese with an English abstract)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Natawidjaja DH, Sieh K, Ward SN, Cheng H, Edwards RL, Galetzka J, Suwargadi BW (2004) Paleogeodetic records of seismic and aseismic subduction from central Sumatran microatolls, Indonesia. J Geophys Res 109:B04306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Nishihira M, Veron JEN (1995) Hermatypic corals of Japan. Kaiyusha Publishers, Tokyo, pp 88–95 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  14. Ota Y, Chappell J (1999) Holocene sea-level rise and coral reef growth on a tectonically rising coast, Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. Quaternary Int 55:51–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ota Y, Yamaguchi M (2004) Holocene coastal uplift in the western Pacific Rim in the context of late Quaternary uplift. Quaternary Int 120:105–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ota Y, Machida H, Hori N, Konishi K, Omura A (1978) Holocene raised coral reefs of Kikai-jima (Ryukyu Islands): An approach to Holocene sea level study. Geogr Rev of Japan 51:109–130 (in Japanese with an English abstract)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Reimer PJ, Baillie MGL, Bard E, Bayliss A, Beck JW, Blackwell PG, Ramsey CB, Buck CE, Burr GS, Edwards RL, Friedrich M, Grootes PM, Guilderson TP, Hajdas I, Heaton TJ, Hogg AG, Hughen KA, Kaiser KF, Kromer B, McCormac FG, Manning SW, Reimer RW, Richards DA, Southon JR, Talamo S, Turney CSM, Plicht JVD, Weyhenmeyer CE (2009) INTCAL09 and MARINE09 radiocarbon age calibration curves, 0–50, 000 years cal. BP. Radiocarbon 51:1111–1150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shen CC, Lee T, Liu KK, Hsu HH, Edwards RL, Wang CH, Lee MY, Chen YG, Lee HJ, Suna HT (2005) An evaluation of quantitative reconstruction of past precipitation records using coral skeletal Sr/Ca and d18O data. Earth Planet Sci Lett 237:370–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Stuiver M, Reimer PJ, Reimer R (2010) CALIB Rev. 6.0.1 website program and documentation.
  20. Sugihara K, Nakamori T, Iryu Y, Sasaki K, Blanchon P (2003) Holocene sea level change and tectonic uplift deduced from raised reef terraces, Kikaijima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Sediment Geol 159:5–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Talma AS, Vogel JC (1993) A Simplified Approach to Calibrating C14 Dates. Radiocarbon 35:317–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wang CH, Burnett WC (1990) Holocene mean uplift rates across an active plate-collision boundary in Taiwan. Science 248:204–206CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Webster JM, Davis PJ, Konishi K (1998) Model of fringing reef development in response to progressive sea level fall over the last 7000 years–(Kikai-jima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan). Coral Reefs 17:289–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Yamaguchi M, Ota Y (2004) Tectonic interpretations of Holocene marine terraces, east coast of Coastal Range, Taiwan. Quaternary Int 115–116:71–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yokoyama Y, Nakada M, Maeda Y, Nagaoka S, Okuno J, Matsumoto E, Sato H, Matsushima Y (1996) Holocene sea-level change and hydro-isostasy along the west coast of Kyusyu, Japan. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 123:29–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Yoneda M, Uno H, Shibata Y, Suzuki R, Kumamoto Y, Yoshida K, Sasaki T, Suzuki A, Kawahata H (2007) Radiocarbon marine reservoir ages in the western Pacific estimated by pre-bomb molluscan shells. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 259:432–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Yu SB, Kuo SB (2001) Present-day crustal motion along the Longitudinal Valley Fault, eastern Taiwan. Tectonophysics 333:199–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Yu SB, Chen HY, Kuo LC (1997) Velocity field of GPS stations in the Taiwan area. Tectonophysics 274:41–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zachariasen J, Sieh K, Taylor FW, Edwards RL, Hantoro WS (1999) Submergence and uplift associated with the giant 1833 Sumatran subduction earthquake: Evidence from coral microatolls. J Geophys Res 104:895–919CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Inoue
    • 1
  • H. Kayanne
    • 1
  • N. Matta
    • 2
  • W. S. Chen
    • 3
  • Y. Ikeda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceThe University of TokyoHongoJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Environmental StudiesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations